theory of value

theory of value.png

(2002)  David Graeber – 253 pg pdf – []

put notes on value page first.. just copying them here now while reading value in commons econ by michel


re re reading (and then too.. adding notes/highlights/stars in yellow of resonations from the next re re re reading)



‘..In short, it is always society that pays itself in the counterfeit money of its dreams.’ —from Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert, Mana and Magic (1904, trans. Loic Wacquant)




The logical thing would perhaps be to thank everyone I’ve ever known, because you never know where your ideas really came from.



the standard history.. sort of thing a journalist would take as self evident

actually.. thinking we all do ie: black science of people/whales law .. history ness and research ness is perpetuating the death of us .. all data is non legit (like from whales in sea world) so just spinning our wheels in tragedy of the non common – we have no idea what legit free people are like


section on postmodern (have to do it individually) vs globalization/neolib (have to do it via market) for pm: no longer single standard of value by which to measure things.. for neolib (globalization): single measure/answer is market ..

via debt book.. via market is via us air force until..

could have single standard in maté basic needs but sans any form of m\a\p

to put it bluntly.. now that it has become obvious that ‘structural forces’ alone are not likely to themselves produce something we particularly like, we are left w prospect of coming up w some actual alts.. even aside from the always daunting fact that this would mean deciding who ‘we’ are, it would require a massive change of theoretical habits..

alternatives can indeed be created, & not just come about. the prospect of coming up w/actual alternatives.


If we are not, in fact, calculating individuals trying to accumulate the maximum possible quantities of power, plea- sure, and material wealth, then what, precisely, are we?


first three chapters are effort to survey how social theorists have dealt w such questions in past.. the dead ends they have tended to run ito and also.. how many of most apparently innovative recent theorist shave tended to recycle these same old dilemmas.. w/o for the most part.. realizing they were doing so.. it ends w a suggestion for one possible way out.. starting from wha ti call the ‘heracleitian tradition’ one that sees what seem to us to be fixed objects.. as patters of motions and what seem to be fixed ‘social structures’ as patternings of action

in other words.. nothing stagnate (if so.. it’s dead and not us)

value i’ll suggest can best be seen in this light as the way in which actions become meaningful to the actor by being incorporated in some large, social totality – even if in many cases the totality in question exists primarily in the actor’s imagination.. this argument turns on a rather idiosyncratic reading of he ideas of marx

second half of book focuses more on two themes, exchange and social creativity..


ch 1 – three ways of talking about value


in which case the ambiguity really is the point.. but i don’t think it is so

? does he mean to him (that doesn’t sound like him.. ie: graeber values law et al) or does he mean to them


psych: personal.. soc: social.. anthro: cultural

1\ clyde kluckhohn’s value project

So what, precisely, are values? Kluckhohn kept refining his definitions. The central assumption though was that values are “conceptions of the desirable”—conceptions which play some sort of role in influencing the choices people make between different possible courses of action (1951a:395). The key term here is “desirable.” The desirable refers not simply to what people actually want—in practice, people want all sorts of things. Values are ideas about what they ought to want.They are the criteria by which people judge which desires they consider legitimate and worthwhile and which they do not. Values, then, are ideas if not necessarily about the meaning of life, then at least about what one could justifiably want from it.

on choices between – we don’t have to coerce any finite set of choices today.. which in essence is ‘ought to want’ ness.. in essence


kluckhohn himself seems to have spent the last yrs of his life plagued by sense of frustration, an inability to find the break through that would make a real, systematic comparative study of values possible – or anyway to relate it properly to action (like david’s desire for book in intro)

The assumption was always that there was, at the core of a culture, certain key patterns or symbols or themes that held everything together and that couldn’t be reduced to pure individual psychology; the problem, to define precisely what this was and how one could get at it.

deep enough ness


kluckhohms key idea: that what makes cultures diff is not simply what they believe the world to (be?) like, but what they feel one can justifiably demand from it.. that anthro in other words should be the comparative study of practical philosophies of life..

closest to it.. max weber’s comparatives study of world religions, which also was concerned w delineating a limited number of possible ways for thinking about the meaning of human existence and then trying to understand the implications for social action of each (again like david in intro – connecting theory to action)

anthro concerns w such issues started developing .. in the 60s in two opposite directions: one that looked to economics (branch of knowledge concerned w production/consumption/transfer of wealth) .. the other to linguistics (scientific study of language and its structure)

lit & num as colonialism

2\ the maximizing individual

practically from beinnings of modern anthro ther have been efforts to apply tools of microecon to study of non western societies

schooling the world ness


several reasons it seemed an obvious thing to do.. 1\ apart from linguistics.. econ has always been the social science that could make the most plausible claim that what it was doing was anything like a natural science;  2\ advantage of being seen as the ver model of ‘hard’ science by the sort of people who distribute *grants (people who themselves usually have some econ training); 3\ advantage of joining an extremely simple model of human nature w extremely complicated math formulae that non specialists can rarely understand, much less criticize..

*graeber grant law – graeber min\max law – et al

its premises are straightforward enough.. society is made up of individuals.. any individual is assumed to have fairly clear idea what he/she wants out of life and to be trying to get as much of it as possible for the least amount of sacrifice/effort (this is called the mini/max approach.. people want to min output and max yields).. what we call society .. at lest if one controls for a little cultural interference.. is simply the outcome of all this self interested activity..

malinowski already complaining about this sort of think in 1922.. such a theory would do nothing he said to explain econ behavior in trobriand islands.. where ie: much time/energy spent on wholly unnecessary effort’


every decade or so has seen at least one new attempt to put the maximizing individual back into anthro theory, even if econ theory itself usually ends up having to bend itself into ribbons in order to do so..

in fact the effort to reconcile the two disciplines is in many ways inherently contradictory.. this is because econ and anthro were created w almost entirely opp purposes in mind..

*econ is all about prediction..t

predict\able ness as the death of us ness

*econ is all about the prediction.. it came into existence and continues to be maintained w all sorts of lavish funding, because people w money want to know what other people w money are likely to do.. as a result, it is also a discipline that more than any other, tends to participate in *the world it describes.. t

aka: *sea world

graeber unpredictability/surprise law.. graeber grant law.. et al

that is to say.. econ sci is mainly concerned w behavior of people who have some *familiarity w econ – either ones who have studied it or at the very last are acting w/in institutions that have been entirely shaped  by it


econ as a discipline has almost always played a role in defining situations it describes.. nor do economists have a problem w this.. seem to feel it is quite as it should be.

socrates supposed to law

anthro from beginning entirely diff.. has always been most interested in action of those people who are least influenced by practical/theoretical world in which the analyst moves/operates.. esp true in days when anthros saw selves as studying savages; but to this day anthros have remained most interested in people whose understanding of world and whose interests/ambitions, are most diff than their own.. as a result.. it is generally carried out completely w/o a thought to furthering those interests/ambitions.. when malinowski was trying to figure out what torbriand gardeners were trying to accomplish in acting as they didi, it almost certainly never even occurred to him that whatever that was, reading his book might make them better able to accomplish it. in fact, when an anthro discovers that anyone is using anthro texts in this way – say as a guide for how to perform their own rituals – they are usually quite disturbed


graeber as a guide law – ‘when an antrho discovers that anyone is using anthro texts in this way – say as a guide for how to perform their own rituals – they (anthros) are usually quite disturbed’

gray research law

socrates supposed to law

seed & spark


econ then is about predicting individual behavior; anthro about understanding collective differences..

all in sea world

if sufficiently determined.. can always id something that people are trying to max.. but if all max ing models are really arguing is that ‘people will always seek to max something’ then they obviously can’t predict anything.. which means employing them can hardly make anthro more scientific.. all they really add to analysis is a set of *assumptions about human nature.. most of all.. that no one ever does anything primarily out of concern for others; that whatever one does, only trying to get something out of it for oneself.. in common english there’s a word for this attitude. it’s called cynicism most of us try to avoid people who take it too much to heart.. in econ, apparently, they call it science

*black science of people/whales law – we have no idea


the way economists talk about ‘goods and services’ already involves reducing what are really social relations to objects; an econ approach to values extends the same process even further, to just about everything..

what econ theory ultimately tries to do is to explain all human behavior – all human behavior it considers worth explaining anyway – on basis of a certain notion of desire/pleasure..  it is this promise of pleasure economists call ‘value;

and again..  any behavior is not legit human nature..


beauty of polanyi’s book is that it demos just how completely wrong that common wish is (to get what they want w least effort) – the state and its coercive powers had every right do w the creation of what we know as ‘the market’ based on its institutions such as private property,  national currencies, legal contracts, credit markets, market was a creation of govt and has always remained so..

add page of polanyi?

market seen as given. free market as natural. but polanyi shows that to be false: “Market behavior” would be impossible without police..t

structural violence

Polanyi to pen terms substantive (given society, study how people maintain it) and formalist (economics is not about economy but about economizing – & people naturally seek min output for max reward)


for a durkheimian (substantivism), econ institutions can be seen as mean of social integration – one of ways society creates a network of moral ties between what would otherwise be a chaotic mass of individuals – or if not that, then at least he means by which *society allocates resources..

both of which we can do today.. sans econ ness (any form of m\a\p) ie: as infra to facil the initial chaos and grok what we really have\need

*so biggest problem/focus is we need to org around legit needs

obvious question is how society motivates people to do this.. w/o some theory of motivation, one is left w a pc of automatons mindlessly following whatever rules society lays down for them.. which at very least makes it difficult to understand how society could ever change

begs ie: itch-in-the-soul as our drive/energy

formalists working w tools originally designed to predict individual behavior in market setting.. could sometimes predict behavior in other cultures.. but not values that motivated them.. transactionalism was probably most ambitious attempt to apply principles of formal econ to anthro.. caused a stir in late 60s

obvious question though.. was.. even if possible to create a model that would thus generate the entire baluchi lineage system or the structure of  west african kingdom from the right collection of values.. what would be the point? what would one then know that one had not know before one started?..  the result would not even be an historical reconstruction, but a purely logical model that need have *nothing to do w the actual historical origins of the societies in question

*yeah that.. because we have no idea what legit free people are like.. and so.. history ness is full of non legit data (like data from whales in sea world)

on chains of history ness – via quote from johnny at lost people at lse

black science of people/whales law

basic issues have never been resolved.. same problems keep re emerging.. as we shall see, a lot of what passes for the newest and most refreshing poststructural theory nowadays is largely warmed over transactionalism, minus the fancy econ formulae, w some even fancier linguistic formulae pasted on instead..

lit & num as colonialism

seed & spark

graeber as a guide law


3\ structuralism and linguistic value

linguists have long been in habit of speaking of the meaning of a word as its value.. one of most interesting found in evans-pritchard’s the nuer: a discussion of the value of the word cieng or home.. more than a word: the notion of home.. carries certain emotional load.. 

oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

saussure .. founder of modern structural linguistics.. value of words is in negative ness.. take on meaning only by contrast w other words in same language.. ie: red.. most precise defn: not blue/yellow/brown.. meaning of terms is its place in total system.. saussure’s arguments had enorm impact on anthro.. and were most important influence on rise of structuralism.. which took form off saussure’s suggestion that all systems of meaning are org’d on same principles as a language.. so that technically, linguistics should be considered just one sub field of an (as yet non existent) master discipline he dubbed semiology.. the science of meaning..  to understand value of object then.. most understand its place in a larger system.. crucial consideration.. means nothing can be analyzed in isolation.. this became trademark of structuralism: the point of anal was always to discover the hidden code, or symbolic system, which (language like) tied everything together..

in early days when structuralism was a new idea that seems to offer resolutions for almost any outstanding problem in social theory, it seemed self evident that it should be possible to do so.. hence marshall sahlins (former substantivist, newfound structuralist) concluded his famous anal.. to understand why people want to buy things he said, we have to understand the place that thing has in a larger code of meaning (quote from sahlin’s book): ‘anthropologists are quite familia w this habit, if not always entirely conscious of it.. since many adopt it to illustrate the universality of rational econ behavior – even where market exchange is specifically absent.. people are nevertheless economizing their resources: it’s just that they are interested in ‘values’ other than the material – brotherhood for ie’

(couldn’t find page number for this on re read – i think it was 8 or so) point of social science is not improving different forms of social systems but understanding what motivates human beings to act the way they do. –

need for clean slate to see.. ie: rat park ness.

p. 14 –

this is a crucial consideration, because it means nothing can be analyzed in isolation.. in order to understand any object.. first identify kind of total system

but why do we assume analyze/meaning.. would legit free people even care to?


(on enthusiasm of structuralism reaching it’s limits) really.. what does it mean to say when you use a word , you are exchanging it fora concept.. ? more than diff.. one is more likely to be emphasizing the fact that one is worth more.. this is why one can say an element of eval is involved.. also precisely what makes money unique – it can indicate exactly how much more one is worth than the other.. the latter provides way to understand how the world is divided up, how objects are grouped into categories based on differences even if (via sahlins on marketing and symbolic distinctions) virtually identical..

graeber values law.. mona lisa smile compare law.. et al


on structuralism .. general consensus is that its greatest weak point is eval.. great dilemma of structuralism has been how to move on from understanding people’s passive contemplation of world.. to their active participation in it..

actually .. no one has done more than marshall sahlins toward thinking a way out of this box..  but since.. he has tended to abandon talk of value entirely..

only author who has made a consistent effort to develop a theory of value along structuralist lines is louis dumont.. his work deserves more detailed consideration..

dumont is best know for having been almost single handedly responsible for popularizing concept of ‘hierarchy’ in social sciences.. his notion of value in fact, emerges directly out of his concept of hierarchy..

we need a means to undo our hierarchical listening

classical structuralism, according to dumont, was developed as a technique meant to anal the formal org of ideas, not values..


this principle of hierarchy, he (dumont) argues, applies to all significant binary oppositions.. in fact dumont rejects the idea that two such terms could ever be considered equal or that there might be any other principle of ranking, which as one might suspect has created a certain amount of controversy, since it pretty obviously isn’t true..

so meaning arises from making conceptual distinctions/ranked/comparison

again.. why would legit free people care?


holistic societies are always hierarchical, ranked in a series of more and more inclusive domains.. our society is the great exception because for us, the supreme value is the individual: each person being assumed to have a unique individuality which goes back to the notion of an immortal souls, which are by defn incomparable.. each individual is a value into selves, and none can be treated as intrinsically superior to any others.. dumont expanding on polanyi’s arguments that it as precisely this principle of individualism that made possible the emergence of ‘the econ’

graeber values law et al


the authors make the interesting (and profoundly structuralist) suggestion that key values receive names only when a society is aware that other societies w diff values exist.. when  it does not, members of that society will not distinguish the nature of their social order from nature of cosmos as a whole.. and the values are seen as inhering (exist permanently) in the very fabric of reality

they (authors) also admit that all four societies have their ‘great men’.. and that these are always, those who have achieved mastery of that society’s most important form of exchange..  so from pov of society, great men only exist in order to sponsor certain forms of cosmological ritual.. ritual that serves to reproduce society as a whole.. along w its key values..

while this somewhat contradicts dumont’s own statements that the value he id dealing w has nothing whatever in common w the econ sort (economists look at preferences; hierarchical values are about intrinsic superiority),


they re introduce all notorious problems of functionalism ie: to speak of societies as ‘wholes’ does seem to imply there are clear borders between them, and they exist in relative isolation.. examining history shows this is very rarely the case.. even more, it becomes almost impossible to see how these societies can ever change.. in fact, one of dumont’s most notorious arguments is that the indian caste system cannot, by defn, change.. its structure is fixed; therefore it can either continue *or it can collapse and be replace by an entirely diff system.. like chair eaten by termites.. will maintain same form until it falls apart.. thee are the main reason why anthros rejected functionalism to begin with

*yeah.. let’s do that.. legit diff

ie: a nother way


reconciling the two (top down – social structure/order vs bottom up – individual motivation) has been a perennial problem for social theory

thinking we need (or need to focus on) motivation is a problem

imagine if we

some .. argue that all anthropology really has to offer to the world is  ethnography, the description of other societies and other ways of life. there is no doubt that this is a very important part of what we do: keeping a record, one might say, of cultural and social differences, a compendium of what being human has meant, in different times and places (and hence, perhaps of human possibilities).


even the most apparently bland/factual description turn out to be based on all sorts of a priori assumptions bout what is important/relevant, and these, on what human beings, or human society, are fundamentally about.. real choice then is between thinking about such questions explicitly or leaving them implicit.. in which case one will inevitably end up drawing on one’s own culture’s unstated folk beliefs..  the usual result is one or another sort of econ.. and the more one deals w human motivations, the more of a problem this becomes..

yeah that.. ie: whales perpetuating extrinsic motivation on whales;

economics of course has a very clear notion of what it is trying to do.. of what constitutes a successful anal (does it or does it not predict what happens)

predict\able as the death of us

on anthros gathering data at all stages.. ie: for 19th cent evolutionist to show where stand in grand historical series and to discover how its existence might reveal something about universal history of mankind; for functionalist to show how given practice/institution contributed to stability (w/o such society would collapse into chaos); for structuralist to show how social forms were made of symbolic elements that change together as total system of meaning..  for all however, the ultimate point was the same: to delineate some kind of logical coherent system, which meant moving away from individual action .. and in doing so, left the empty space into which economist theories were always trying to crawl.

by early 80s.. consensus that this was the great problem of the day: how to come up w dynamic theory of structuralism.. one that could account for the vagaries (unexpected change) of human action, creativity and change.. a theory of value seemed to be just what was needed to bridge gap: bring together society and human purposes, to move from meaning to desire

ie: cure ios city .. as infra structure

anthro didn’t resolve dilemmas of 80s.. skipped over them.. structuralism faded.. then came to seem ridiculous.. theories that concentrated on power and practice replaced it.. general feeling that debate was over.. hence, the tendency to act as if such a theory does in fact exist..


most of the new theories that seem to have made the old arguments irrelevant are, at least in many of their aspects, little more than retooled version of the same old thing..

same song ness

2 – current directions in exchange theory


a brief survey of current state of exchange theory should help make clear how much the same old dilemmas keep spinning endlessly around..t

good bye cycle

p. 24 – marxist focus was on production.. formalists and substantivists had entirely missed the point because all their debates had been about distribution and exchange

25 – once one turns to societies w/o a state, it’s not clear how any of these concepts are to be applied..t

ie: if we venture outside sea world.. all data today is irrelevant

marxism became the inspiration for a whole series of new approaches.. i’ll refer to them for shorthand purposes as ‘critical theory’.. that beginning in the 60s transformed most anthro’s ideas about what their discipline was ultimately about.

critical realism et al

on cultural standards ultimately arbitrary, who were we to apply western standards to people who did not share them? marxism was obviously nothing if not critical; but it also took those very western cultural standards as the ground of everything it wished to criticize.. it had been developed as a technique for exposing the workings of a system of ineq and injustice w/in the analyst’s own society, so as to contribute to the dissolution of that society, and the creation of a radically diff one..  if a marxist criticizes non western social orders, it was not because it was diff from his/her own, but largely to the degree it was similar..

all whales

p. 26 – on 60s debates about exchange, 70s about production and 80s about consumption

27 – on first page of this essay, mauss defines gifts as ‘prestations which are in theory voluntary, disinterested and spontaneous, but are in fact obligatory and interested.. t just as in our own society there is often a pretense of pure generosity when one first gives a gift, though in reality the receiver is expected to return something of equal/greater value later on.. hence a gift can often be a challenge, and the recipient, profoundly humiliated if he cannot produce a suitably generous response.. nonetheless, mauss’ ultimate point is the the ‘interest’ involved need have nothing to do w making a profit – or even scoring a moral victory – at anyone’s expense. gifts act as a way of creating social relations. they create alliances and obligations between individuals or groups who might *otherwise have nothing to do w one another.. t.. functionalist theorists (ie: polanyi) immediately swept up this notion because it corresponded to perfectly to their assumptions.. exchange was first/foremost a way of achieving social integration.. for some, it because the very glue that held society together. if anything, this held even more for structuralists: claude levi strauss.. (1949) extended the argument further by suggesting that the institution of marriage, in a society, should be considered the exchange of women between groups of men, which again functioned to create a network of alliances..

prestations: ‘payment in money or in services. … or the performance of such a duty: The contract imposes reciprocal prestations upon the parties.’

reciprocity.. obligation.. any form of m\a\p.. huge red flags we’re doing it/life wrong

*imagine if we gathered in a space differently.. ie: 2 convers as infra

bourdieu, in study of kabyle of algeria (1977) manages to take a radically diff turn on the gift by returning to the pretense of generosity.. often, he notes, *all that makes gift exchange diff from simple barter is the lapse of time between gift and counter gift.. it’s this delay that makes it possible to pretend each is simply an act of generosity, of denying any element of self interested calculation.. t.. this sort of subterfuge, he suggests, is typical of tradition all societies, which unlike ours do not recognized and explicit field of econ activity..


*lapse let’s us pretend generosity.. rather than reciprocity.. but also creates bigger burden of obligation et al


p. 28 –  

bourdieu: ‘a rational contract would telescope into an instant a transaction which gift exchange disguises, by stretching it out in time; and because of this, gift exchange is , if not the only mode of commodity circulation practiced, at least the only mode to be fully recognized, in societies which, because they deny ‘the true soil of their own life’ .. have an econ in itself and not for itself.. ie: man’s struggle against nature, tends, together w the systematic emphasis on the sympbolic aspect of the activities and relations of production, to prevent the econ from being grasped as an econ ie: as a system governed by the laws of interested calculation, competition or exploitation’.. t

ie: oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

polanyi – economy as way to provide food & shelter, bourdieu – strictly formalist.. matter of self interested calc, making rational decisions about the allocation of scarce resources w aim of getting as much as possible for self.. in real objective terms he argues, economizing or something like it is always going on.. it’s just that where there is no market, everyone goes to enorm lengths to disguise this fact.. this endless labor of camouflage is such a burden.. often takes up as much time as that invested in econ activity itself. that it tends to dissolve away immediately as soon as a market econ is intro’d.. whereon the hidden reality of calculated self interest is openly revealed..  

what one has then in a traditional society is one dominate by an overt morality which can never really be put into practice: people are aware of the existence of self interested calc, they uniformly disapprove of it in principle, yet it is nonetheless the basis of everything they do.. 

of math and men

29 – bourdieu: ‘practice never ceases to conform to econ calc therefore we must extend econ calc to all goods.. w/o distinction, that present selves as rare and worthy of being sought after in particular social formation – which may be ‘fair words’ or smiles, handshakes or shrugs, complements of attention, challenges or insults, honour or honours, powers or pleasures, gossip or sci info, distinction or distinctions, etc.. ‘

on some level what bourdieu is saying is undeniably true. there is no area of human life, anywhere, where one cannot find self interested calculation.. but neither is there anywhere one cannot find kindness or adherence to idealist principles: the point is why one, and not the other, is posed as ‘objective’ reality.. . t

we need to let go of any form of m\a\p

10-day-care-center\ness et al

motives of giver are unimportant.. might be kind.. but objectively doesn’t matter, because in overall structure of situation, gifts are always part of a game of dominance.. t


one thing to find this attitude among conservative economists (that people are selfish); quite another to find it at heart of critical theory.. even more in pierre bourdieu, a social theorist who has, more than an i can think of, dedicated himself to exposing structure of privilege and exploitation even w/in the academic world (at no little personal cost).. no one could doubt his own integrity and good intentions.. why then, his insistence on discounting the importance of integrity and good intentions in human affairs?

p. 30 – one might well argue that the rise of neoliberalism (essentially, the exact thing polanyi was arguing against fifty years ago) has been made possible by the failure of the left to come up with plausible alternatives..


appadurai leaves one w image of commerce (self interested acquisitive calc) as a universal human urge, almost a libidinal, democratic force, always trying to subvert the powers of the state, aristocratic hierarchies, or cultural elites whose role always seems to be to tory to inhibit, channel, or control it.. it all rather make sone wish one still had karl polanyi around to remind us how much state power has created the very terms of what is now considered normal commercial life.. 

34 – their value, then is measured in the fear of loss.. loss of status/authority.. so trying to not let it circulate.. so opp of value as exchange

p. 35 – rather than value being the measure of how much one would like to acquire something one does not possess, in weiner, it becomes the measure of how little one would wish to give up the things one does.

one major theoretical alternative (to formalism vs substantivism)…in Melanesia.. from Mauss through work of Christopher Gregory to Marilyn Strathern.

on strathern: new melanesian ethnography. no one could possible deny its brilliance… key notions.. partible person..perhaps the main thing that has limited her work’s appeal is that most of it is written in an incredibly difficult language, largely of her own invention – one which seems to have an endless capacity to slip away almost as soon as a reader thinks she’s grasped it.. it can be very frustrating to read..t

i love this. idiosyncratic ness… frustrating to read.. but could free us

ie: non hierarchical listening et al

goes w bottom of 38 and 39 (difficult but decipherable?).. end of 35 talks of anthros (and i’d say anyone) saying something is natural/universal just because of assumed assumptions ie: language (as control/enclosure) that’s natural.. esp to men

main question asked in (mauss’) essay on the gift is: what is it about giving a gift that makes the recipient feel compelled to return a countergift of roughly equal value?.. his answer – harkens back to emerson – gift always seen to contain something of the giver.. gifts take on human qualities..  

obligation and reciprocity and tit for tat ness et al

p. 36 – Gregory – gift economies tend to personify objects (ei: giving a part of the person with them). commodity economies, like our own, do the opposite: they tend to treat human beings, or at least, aspects of human beings, like objects.

gift quantitative social debt.. exchange qualitative commodity.. accum as much as can

strathern questions assumptions of ‘individual + gift/exchange = society’.. her ie: melpa don’t see either.. individual or society.. rather relationships first

strathern has come into a great deal of criticism for essentializing” difference (melanesian vs western). … strathern never claims that all melanesians think one way, or all westerners another..rather a thought experiment.

talking need for ni ness – means to both start at individual and start at society

37 – strathern an avowed feminist.. but she spends book systematically knocking down almost every argument ever made that might justify notion that melaniesian women are oppressed. not that she means to deny that melanesian men dominate women.. she acknowledges they do.. rather.. she wants to expose the cultural assumptions underlying the ways most such arguments are framed.. ie: her response to josephides’ analysis of melanesian exchange systems..  josephides provides what has become classic marxist critique of maussian tradition.. it runs like this: by focusing on ‘the gift’ the moment when objects change hands, one is looking only at the moment the society itself places under its spotlight: the moment when to important men (almost always) confront one another in dramatic public acts of generosity.. but spotlights don’t only draw attention to some things.. by doing so they also draw attention away from others.. should one not also ask what is being left in shadows here? ie: someone (mostly women) must have made these things.. rather than be seduced by spotlight.. we should investigate its operation.. 

short version: spotlight of generosity (mostly men) vs who made objects.. (mostly women).. men only ones who could exchange/gain-a-name

p. 38 –

value in commodities comes from someone ‘willing’ to buy.. rather than value in labor to make something someone ‘desires’ to buy – simmel et al

strathern objects.. to make such an arguemtn one is already assumgin that paerson has some kind of rights in whatever they produce.. but does everyone? – if you examine talk of rights in our own society, she observes, you quickly discover a whole series of assumptions about private property. we assume that society is made up of individuals, and most of our conceptions of human rights are based on the idea that individuals own themselves. hence, they have the right to prevent others from intruding on their bodies, their homes, or their minds.. (macperhson 62). marxists simply go further by arguing that this includes their powers of creativity, and therefore, that individuals have a right to the products of their labor.  (lots here talking about the product not ever being from just one person)

property ness

thus far the argument is straightforward enough.. strathern continues: ‘a vocab, which turns on the deprivation of ‘rights’ must entail premises bout a specific form of property. to assert rights against others implies a type of legal ownership. does the right to determine the value of one’s product belong naturally to the producer?

rights ness

the first two sentences are remarkable enough.. apparently , there are o rights that do not go back to property.. but the third is crucial.. w’re not just talking about the right of ownership.. the right to determine who has access to one’s product.. w are also talking about the right to determine its meaning or importance.. and of course, the moment an anthropologist uses a term like ‘natural’ we all know where the argument is heading..  it is we who assume the producer should always have this right (to determine who has access to product as well as right to determine meaning/value of product). we are wrong to believe that this is universal.

p. 39 –

the marxist notion of alienation, she writes, assumes that work: ‘has a value in the first instance for the self.. it is the person’s own appropriation of his/her activity that gives it value .. in so far as the person is a microcosm of the ‘social’ process by which exogenous appropriation by others, by ‘the system’ also gives it value

this is a difficult passage, and t turns on a rather particular use of the term ‘appropriation’.. but it is decipherable.. 

goes back to 35 – decipherable?

value, then is the meaning or importance society ascribes to an object. marxists imply that individuals who produce objects should have the right to determine their meaning. in mount hagen, she (strathern) objects, people do not see things in this way, since they do not see objects as having been produced by individuals. they see them as the outcome of relationships.

also on people of melanesia – they don’t see individual as unique via individual’s view point.. (like west does ..west sees soul/self/property as id).. they assume.. what we are .. before anything else.. is what we are perceived to be by others.. which gets into her partible/multiple person age. people have all sorts of potential identities, multiplicity of id.. which most of the time exist only as a set of hidden possibilities. …

rather it’s both/and.. self and relationship.. ni.. and definit mult of id – it is me ness

p. 40 – when a person fixes on this.. makes it visible… it is at this point that a theory of value comes in: because strathern uses ‘making visible’ and ‘giving value’ more or less interchangeably.. so here too value is simply meaning: giving value to something is a matter of defining it by placing in some broader set of conceptual categories.. 

rather.. perhaps we could assume the small is {ginormous} beautiful of things and let go of meaning/defn/label(s) ness

the diff is.. it would never occur to a melanesian that anyone would have the right to define herself, or the products of her own labor – value always exists in the eyes of someone else. .. people brought into being only through social relations..

42: value implies comparison ‘between an entity and its source of origin’ via strathern .. closer examine this passage.. less sense it makes.. comparing entity to source doesn’t establish whether one is better/preferable to source.. just observing similarities/differences.. 

this is why we need to assume good.. because we can’t compare/see others’ take

graeber values law

43: strathern’s defn of value is saussurean: value is simply meaningful diff, a matter of placing something in a set of categories.. if simply diff.. loses power .. need to compare diff entities/histories.. which is difficult..  not to discount strathern.. just to show why so frustrating to apply outside specific contexts for which it was developed.. ie: her gifts ness.. hard to resist looking for parallels in our society.. but hers is not meant to be basis of general theory of gifts.. ie: in ancient greece point of giving gifts often to crush/humiliate  w lavish generosity.. that couldn’t be reciprocated..  does this mean need diff theory for diff econs? what would it be like.. this is question starthern seems to resist.. leaving it to others to determine her work’s broader implications

44: value as choice between econ’s and saussurian (strathern – meaningful diff).. then into other option.. munn’s

45: munn goes from strathern’s value as relationship to value as individual action/effort.. or.. like circling back to effort along lines of marxist labor of value.. but only if define labor more broadly (via munn).. so as to make it undefinable.. ie: labor to include all creativity.. which can’t be captured

46: up to now value either econ or saussurian.. and what they both have in common is that what’s being evaluated is static.. objects individual actors can then seek to acquire.. to turn something into a thing is, normally, to stop it in motion; not surprising then that such approaches usually have little place for creativity or eve, unless forced, production.. saussurean structuralism on other hand ascribes value not to things but to abstract categories.. but saussure himself insisted this existed outside of action, change, and time.. while speech exists in time and is always changing, language ..the code.. has to be treated as synchronic.. as if it existed in a kind of moment outside it.. both approaches then end up having difficult time accounting for ongoing processes of change/transformation.. *economism tends to reduce all action to exchange;..t saussureans have trouble dealing w action of any sort..  inactivity.. static ness.. munn is diff because suggesting action

language as control/enclosure .. the death of us.. et al (static ness kills alive ness)

*marsh exchange law.. need a diff econ.. ie: bachelard oikos law et al

47: so w munn.. completely diff direction.. beyond strathern’s static/visible.. to munn’s active/invisible/pontentia.. capability if right circumstance 

hari rat park law et al


before outlining turner’s approach, though (or anyway my own idio version of it)..

great graeber line in ()

ch 3 – value as the importance of actions

50: western tradition.. that marked itself as imagining objects that exist are outside element of time/transformation.. that obvious reality of change has always been something of a problem

well for.. intellect ness

parmenides’ position was obviously absurd.. science has since show that heraclitus was more right..

but we still are obsessed w fixed/perfect/complete intellect ness.. naming the colour ness.. we can’t seem to let go of measuring things of any form of m\a\p

p. 50 – if objects are in constant flux, even precise spatial measures are impossible..tone can take an object’s measure at a particular moment and then treat that as representative, but even this is something of an imaginary construct, because such “moments” (in the sense of points in time, of no duration, infinitely small) do not really exist – they, too, are imaginary constructs. it has been precisely such imaginary constructs (“models”) that have made modern science possible

again.. if legit alive can’t be static.. so can’t be compared.. ie: graeber values law

we need to let go of any form of m\a\p

p. 51 – something ironic: what ricoeur is suggesting is that we have been able to create a technology capable of giving us hitherto unimaginable power to transform the world, largely because we were first able to imagine a world without powers or transformations. it may well be true. the crucial thing, though, is that in doing so, we have also lost something. because once one is accustomed to a basic apparatus for looking at the world that starts from an imaginary, static, parmenidean world outside of it, connecting the two becomes an overwhelming problem. ….bhaskar has been arguing for some years now that since parmenides, western philosophy has been suffering from what he calls an *’epistemic fallacy’:t a tendency to confuse the question of how we can know things with the question of whether those things exist.

intellect ness.. hubris ness.. et al.. making us all like whales

*of math and men

roy bhaskar

at its most extreme, this tendency opens into positivism: the assumption that give sufficient time and sufficiently accurate instruments, it should be possible to make models and reality correspond entirely.. predict precisely what would happen .. since *no one has been able to do anything of the sort, the position has tendency to generate its opposite.. a kind of aggressive nihilism .. saying.. if can’t come up w perfect descriptions.. impossible to talk about reality at all..  why most of us ordinary mortals find philosophical debates so pointless.. in contradiction w ordinary life experience.. 

*and won’t ever.. ie: what computers can’t do et al

graeber unpredictability/surprise law et al

.. most of us are accustomed to describe things as “realities” precisely because we can’t completely understand them, can’t completely control them, don’t know exactly how they are going to affect us, but nonetheless can’t just wish them away. it’s what we don’t know about them that brings home the fact that they are real.

grokking as ongoingly becoming rather than knowing in time/permanence/fragility et al.. which (to me) only happens when we let go of our focus obsession on intellect ness/understanding/meaning/defining/predicting.. any form of m\a\p

p. 52 – in alternative, heraclitean strain has always existed – one that sees objects as processes.. best-known .. via Hegel and Marx. but whatever form.. has been almost impossible to integrate with more conventional philosophy. it has tended to be seen as existing somewhat off to the side, as odd or somewhat mystical.

bhaskar – and those who have since taken up some version of his ‘critical realist’ approach: have been trying for some years to develop amore reasonable ontology.. some of his conclusions:

1\ realism – rather than limiting to what can be observed by senses.. ask ‘what would have to be the case’ in order to explain what we do experience.. ‘why are sci experiments possible/necessary’

2\ potentiality – reality not limited to what we can experience (empirical).. so even to sum total of events said to have taken place (actual).. rather third level (real).. that there’s no end to the pursuit does’t mean reality doesn’t exist; rather.. simply means one will never be able to understand it completely

3\ freedom – reality can be divided into emergent stratum: just as chem presupposed but cannot be entirely reduce to physics, so bio presupposes but cannot be reduced to chem.. diff sorts of mechs are operating on each.. each achieves a certain autonomy from those below.. it would be impossible even to talk about human freedom were this not the case, since our actions would simply be determine by chem/bio processes


4\ open systems – real world events occur in open systems..  there are always different sorts of mechanisms, derived from different emergent strata of reality, at play in any one of them. as a result, *one can never predict precisely how any real-world event will turn out..t this is why scientific experiments are necessary: experiment are ways of creating temporary “closed systems” in which the effects of all other mechanisms are, as far as possible, nullified, so that one can actually examine a single mechanism in action.

5\ tendencies –  so best to not refer to unbreakable scientific laws.. but rather tendencies..which interact in unpredictable ways. of course, the higher the emergent strata one is dealing with, *the less predictable things become, the involvement of human beings of course being the most unpredictable factor of all..t

*huge..and *huge .. thinking we have predict\able ness as huge red flag we’re doing it/life wrong.. because essentially we’re killing the alive ness of it/life/us

roy bhaskar

critical realism

graeber unpredictability/surprise law

p. 53 – ..not a matter of abandoning science but is, rather, the only hope of giving science a solid ontological basis. but it also means that in order to do so, those who wish to make claims to science will have to abandon some of their most ambitious – one is tempted to say, totalitarian, paranoid – dreams of absolute or total knowledge, and accept a certain degree of humility about what it is possible to know. reality is what one can never know completely. if an object is real, any description we make of it will necessarily be partial and incomplete. that is indeed how we can tell it is real. the only things we can hope to know perfectly are ones that exist entirely in our imaginations..t

… bhaskar’s ultimate interest is social; he is trying to come up with the philosophical ground for a theory of human emancipation,t a way of squaring scientific knowledge with the idea of human freedom. here, too, the ultimate message is one of humility: critical realists hold that it is possible to preserve the notion of a social reality and, therefore, of a science able to make true statements about it – but only if one abandons the sort of positivist number-crunching that passes for science among most current sociologists or economists, and gives up the idea that social science will ever be able to establish predictive laws..t


dang.. graeber’s writings/findings are where all my deep thinking is found/ed.. where it’s resonated.. oh my

and so too.. bhaskar’s.. unpredictability ness.. et al.. can’t know ness

p. 55 – what makes capitalism unique, he (marx) argued, is that it is the only system in which labor – a human being’s capacity to transform the world, their powers of physical and mental creativity – can itself be bought and sold. after all, when an employer hires workers, he does not usually pay them by the task completed: he pays them by the hour, thus purchasing their ability to do whatever he tells them to do during that period of time.

marx was not particularly interested in coming up w a model that would predict price fluctuations, understand pricing mechs.. and so on .. not meant to be a theory of prices.. as most all other economists have been.. since they are ultimately trying to write something that would be of us e to those operating w/in a market system.. marx was writing something that would be of use for those trying to overthrow such a system (market). therefore, he by no means assumed that price paid for something was an accurate reflection of its worth.

as a first approximation then, one might say that the value a given product – or, for that matter, institution – has is the proportion of a society’s creative energy it sinks into producing and maintaining it.

p. 56 – socially necessary labor time… material and symbolic: punch clocks, and money and hours

probably no coincidence that it’s precisely here where one hears about ‘values’ in the plural sense: family values, religious virtues, values of arts.. etc.. where there is no single system of value, one is left w a whole series of heterogeneous, disparate ones

graeber values law

what, then, does one do where there is no market in labor at all, or none that is especially important? …. for anthropologists (or for that matter, those who would like to think about an alternative to capitalism) this is obviously one of the most important questions..t

imagine if we tried a diff econ.. sans any form of m\a\p

what we need is to 1\ a means to undo our hierarchical listening so we can get back/to legit needs.. and then 2\ org around those deeper/legit needs

ie: oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space


marx proposed.. men make own histories but not under conditions of own choosing.. separates humans from animals.. humans produce means of livelihood.. food shelter..

really?.. i don’t think so.. ie: wild/natural harvests if don’t agri et al.. not making history if conditional.. rather perpetuating sea world..

58: marx – what sets us apart from animals.. humans produce in self conscious manner.. what makes us human is not so much reason (in problem solving sense) as imagination.. so not as good as bee/ant work.. but 1\ can envision what they would like to have before they make it and as a result 2\ can also imagine alts

59: in fact.. individual actors tend to be aware of only first (1\ produce what’s needed 2\ coop w others to make  3\ defn person ie: seamstress  4\ open process w/potential to transform) .. it is much harder to keep track of the other 3.. 

so maybe let go of focus on ie: 2\ coop ing ie: imagine if we gathered in a space via diff data 3\ defining us ie: daily curiosities as only label(s) 4\ open process/potential  ie: let go of analyzing process and let the dance dance

in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

one might say there are two orders of critical theory.. 1\ simply serves to demo that our normal way of looking at world .. of of some phenomena w/in it.. is flawed: incomplete or mistaken, and to explain how things really work  2\ more powerful not only explains how things actually work, but does so in such away as to account for why people did not perceive it that way to begin with.. marxist approaches hold out the promise of doing precisely that.. but if one considers the overall thrust of marx’s writings.. one finds what he produced was less a theory of false consciousness than a theory of partial consciousness: one in which actors find it almost impossible to distinguish their own particular vantage on a situation form the overall structure of the situation itself.. 

again.. so let’s quit trying to analyze all that.. we spend our days analyzing/explaining/seeking-meaning.. instead of living/being.. part\ial ness is killing us

don’t need to see whole or parts.. need to not see whole/parts.. that trying to see/analyze.. ends up just being a distraction from fittingness .. again: undisturbed ecosystem

p. 60 – how was one to relate language and parole, synchrony and diachrony, the abstract system, seen as existing outside of time, and the real events – people speaking,writing, and so on, none of them fully aware of the principles that guide their own practice, even though their practice is the only way we have of getting at those principles in the first place?

anthro’s rarely found use for piaget’s structuralism – on action first..  lacking in cultural depth/sensitivity.. saussure was interested in diff ways diff languages define reality; piaget, in the intellectual development of children..  not hard to see why anthros were drawn to one and not the other.. but also seems ot me the accusation is somewhat self fulfilling.. ie: if piagetian models lack cultural depth.. it’s in part because anthros never saw fit to develop them

pieagiet’s stages of child develop are now considered outmoded/what’s important here though are not the particulars, but theory overall approach.. ie: his premise that ‘it is always and everywhere the case the elementary forms of intelligence originate from action’

61: piaget insists that 1\ the basis of any system of knowledge is always a set of practices: ie: maths not derived from ‘idea of number’ but from practice of counting.. abstract categories, however important, never come first.. 2\ a structure can always be seen as a set of transformations (that are reversible) .. based on certain invariant principles.. 

p. 61 – the crucial thing/point is that what we call structure is not something that exists prior to action. ultimately, “structure” is identical with the process of its own construction. ..

ie: as infra ness

piaget doesn’t believe that development is simply a matter of achieving a certain level and then stopping; there are always new/more complex level one could generate.. here piaget invokes kurt godel: no logical system (such as math) could demonstrate its own internal consistency;  .. in order to do so, one has to generate a more sophisticated, higher level that presumes it.. since that level will not be able to demo its own principles either, one then has to go on to gen another level after that and so on ad infinitum.. (led to hierarchy of intelligence .. pyramids of knowledge.. et al)

intellect ness

what we need most is a means to undo all that .. to undo our hierarchical listening et al

p.62 – on bourdieu’s work on habitus:  a truly artful social actor is almost guaranteed not to be able to offer a clear explanation of the principles underlying her own artistry..t

habit\us ness

on rites of passage.. (1909 gennep et al).. 3 stages: 1\ separation 2\ liminal  3\ re integration.. liminal stage is suspended between id’s.. and via victor turner (1967) has a tendency to take on some some very strange ‘anti structural’ qualities – ie: sacred and polluting, creative and destructive, divine and monstrous.. ultimately beyond anything that can be explained by the order of normal life..  to maintain a system of classification ie: males to children, adolescents, adults.. requires a certain level of logical operations; like any set of categories.. it is the ‘other side’ of a set of activities.. fundamentally diff nature than those which operate in ordinary life.. in which people are one thing or another.. everyday categories don’t apply.. so resort to mystery, paradox, unknowability, or systematic inversion of normal ways of doing  things – a ‘world turned upside down’

label(s).. liminality.. et al

63: unlike marx .. durkheim didn’t see anything particularly wrong w fact that society seemed to impose itself on individuals as an alien force, any more than he had any problem w the existence of social hierarchies.. marx, who objected to both, saw them as two sides of the same coin..  to understand fully the parallels between marx and piaget.. one must look more closely at piaget’s notion of egocentrism –

one of piaget’s more remarkable achievements as to take *a fact that almost anyone knows.. that children see self at center of universe.. so think reality is right in front of them and can’t see others’ pov

*fact? rather nys ness.. we have no idea

p. 64 – for piaget – achieving maturity is a matter of “decentering” oneself: of being able to see one’s own interests or perspective as simply one part of a much larger totality not intrinsically more important than any other.

in matters social, however one clearly cannot do this all the time… in fact, *human beings are notoriously incapable of doing so on a consistent basis. **here again, there appears to be a very concrete limit to the human imagination… (turner): in order to understand this fully, one would have to be able to coordinate the subjective points of view of everyone involved – to see how they all fit together (or in case of conflict , don’t) , and so on. …. 

*but that’s more whales than kids ie: ‘most adults’ and not yet scrambled.. like diggety.. knows where home is.. so.. we’re supposed to believe the more deeply intoxicated shales/adults’s take on the ‘lesser’ ie: dogs and kids

**limit in sea world.. where we spend our days naming the colour

(marx): paradox of division of labor – created common interest since people need each other to survive.. but does so by confining everyone to such limited interests.. gave rise to alienation

mumford non-specialized law et al.. alienates us.. thinking arm as arm.. rather than just being (an always changing) part of whole

65: anthros tend to be extremely suspicious of any general theory that even holds out the potential of arguing that certain people are more sane/intelligent/rational than others.. they are very right to be suspicious.. once models given intellect legitimacy.. they are snatched up by racists/chauvinists and used to support more obnoxious political positions..  piagetian case was no exception.. 

p. 66 – on ideas of some people superior to others: re – arunda people – to argue that such people are incapable of sophisticated thought seems obviously ridiculous: even if, like people everywhere, they are unlikely to fully grasp the principles underlying their own most sophisticated forms of action..t

68: socialization as a continual process.. people are almost always engaged in a constant process of changing their social position, roles, statuses.. and doing so having to *learn how to behave in them.. life is thus a constant ed process..  

(ed process) only because of *this cancerous thinking.. socrates supposed to law et al

69: eric wolf (traditional marxist): ‘kinship mode of production’.. real point is how one would go about analyzing a kinship system.. in same way marx analyzed market system in capitalism.. so.. in what way do the actions of shaping people become embodied in value forms.. and in what way does this allow for fetishism (people failing to recognize degree to which they themselves are producing value) and exploitation (means by which some people appropriate surplus value generated by others)

p. 69 – the baining (of papua new guinea), a population of taro farmers who live in scattered hamlets in the mountainous interior of east new britain, are somewhat notorious… for complete lack of any elaborate social structure. fajans describes their society as a kind of “egalitarian anarchism” … as close as one is likely to find to a genuinely simple society. …as a result.. also lacking in mystification

not simple enough if still talking value/prestige.. exchanging tit for tat ness et al.. any form of m\a\p

70: gardening/sweat quintessential form of work.. hence basic schema of action.. human labor to transform nature into culture ‘*socialization‘..  while gardening work is the paradigm, raising children (literally, ‘feeding’ them) is seen in same terms.. a matter of transforming infants, who are seen as relatively wild creatures when born, into fully formed social beings.. **humans whose humanity  in turn is defined largely as a capacity for productive action .. so even here  a sort of minimal hierarchy of spheres..  

see.. both already messed up.. ie: graeber parent/care law

**norton productivity law et al

p. 70 – the most prestigious act in baining society is giving food, or other consumables. to be a parent, for example, is not considered so much a matter of procreation but of providing children with food…

in the absence of enduring institutional structure which can be seen as existing apart from individual human action, “society” itself has (to) be re-created by individuals on a day to day basis.

but (to me) enduring institutional structure is there – doesn’t really matter if cancer is minimal

among the baining, producing food through the labor of gardening is seen as the origin of value, but that value is only “realized” when one give some of that food to someone else.. so raising/caring for children

71: top.. *w/o society.. socialization of children would not be prestigious .. t.. just as w/o the continual socialization of children as new producers, society itself would not continue to exist..

*graeber parent/care law

maté parenting law

kayapo as more complicated system.. baining as good place to start because *lack most of institutional structures {back and forth law and not simple/lacking enough}

graeber/wengrow back & forth law.. and *not enough.. part\ial ness is killing us

75: turner ..coming out of marxian rather than durkheimian.. does not assume that alienation and hierarchy are simply natural and inevitable features of human life

76: from kayapo perspective.. most important ends can only be realized in eyes of some audience.. while from analytical perspective.. ‘society’ is a notoriously fluid, open ended.. from perspective of actors.. much more easily defined:  ‘society’ simply consists of that potential audience.. of everyone whose opinion of you matters in some way ie: not peasant farmer or janitor

oi.. wilde not-us law et al

p. 77 – value is not created in that public recognition. rather, what is being recognized is something that was, in a sense, already there.

never nothing going on ness.. not having to be seen to be.. 

all this i think has a definite bearing on the question of exploitation.. in this sense.. ie: not just the pigs but male public sphere itself which is constructed in large part by female labor, even if it is also one from which women are largely excluded.. from this perspective.. too ie: strathern point out that have to also conclude that mean are being exploited.. because women control the crops that men have contributed to producing..  all this inevitable if one thinks of value only in terms of particular objects/transactions.. refusing to consider any sort of larger social whole

good reasons strathern wants to avoid talking about ‘society’.. 1\ wants to emphasize ‘societies’ not bounded wholes, but open ended networks  2\ concept is alien to melpas..  but.. by doing so.. ends up paradoxically depriving her hageners of almost all social creativity..  a constructivist approach such as i have been trying to develop .. might help.. ie: assumes has to be 1\ a whole  2\ whole is always shifting..  via actors pursuing forms of value that can only be realized on larger stage.. if for the actor ‘society’ is simply audience one would like to impress.. for analyst, it is all those actions gone into making possible for actor to make that impressions.. produced value realized in this way

78: value: econ price mechs vs values: conceptions of the desirable.. honor, purity, beauty et al.. 

graeber values law

key question is degree to which value can be stored ie: money (value) permanent/movable.. performance (values) temp/local(same place) 

testart storage law

79: in capitalist system two units: factory/workplace (creating commodities) and home (creating human beings)  – with market mediating relation s between the two.. acting as a vast force of social amnesia: the anonymity of econ transactions ensures that w regard to specific products, each sphere remains invisible to other.. 

one unit here (fractaled global) – sans market/money/mediator/any form of m\a\p: oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

80: most commodities – as critics of marx so often point out.. end up marking diff sorts of id (as fashioning of people ie: via brand name) and this is the ultimate social ‘realization’ of their value .. from perspective of workplace.. actual labor (doing whatever boos wants them to do) becomes invisible. hence. instead of things taking on human qualities.. real human beings end up taking on qualities of things.. human beings reduced to commodities that can be bought/sold.. and hence put to use in creating new commodities.. 

in traditional society of course.. there is only one set of min units.. production of people/things is centered on the household.. still even in an extremely simple case like the baining, there is still some kind of larger sphere in which values can be said to circulate and be realized.. 

yeah .. that.. but deeper/simpler than baining

83: mid… values need medium to be realized  {?}

p. 83 – kayapo women.. painting bodies of children.. endlessly re-encoding an implicit model of the human body and society. .. transformation of inner “libidinal” powers into visible social forms.

human action/thought can only *take place thru some kind of material medium and therefore can’t be **understood w/o taking the qualities of the medium into account

? i don’t know..  1\ maybe being **understood doesn’t equate w *taking place  .. ie: maybe understanding (intellect ness) isn’t the point of living  2\ maybe we have had a medium that helps us let go of thinking that ie: tech as it could be

p. 84 – on the need/use of witchcraft.. as counter – bloch has noted that most common way of rep ing social value is by dramatic rep of its opposite.. evil, decay, chaos.. witchcraft.. way of doing same.. reaffirms moral values thru pre of utter immorality


85: one could hardly deny that where one finds a state.. one tends to find material surplus.. and a class of people who somehow contrive to get their hands on most of it.. and that this is indeed ultimately backed up by threat of force.. 

structural violence et al

institutions such as church and law .. which mainly serve to validate the interests of the ruling class: priests to explain to slaves why they should endure their lot, jurists to tell peasants that their relations w their landlords are based on justice.. 


insofar as state structure do succeed in legitimizing selves.. it’s almost always by successfully appealing to the values which exist in the domestic sphere.. which are of course.. rooted in those much more fundamental forms of ineq.. and much more effective forms of ideological distortion.. most obviously gender

gare enslavement law et al.. and need for legit oikos

ie: oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

if there’s one thing almost all the classic traditions of the study of meaning agree on – it is that for human beings, meaning is a matter of comparison

is it? if so .. then w my gut.. our obsession w meaning ness is part of the cancer (perpetuation of tragedy et al).. because to me.. comparison is killing us

ie: graeber values law et al

87: the realization of value is always, necessarily, a process of comparison.. so implies an at least imagined audience..  for the actor.. that’s all ‘society’ usually is

yeah.. see that as cancer.. aka: not legit belonging ness et al

bakhtin – who made distinction between little universes of time/space constructed in the imagination .. and an infinitely complex reality in which meaning is established thru open ended dialogue

88: imagination implies the possibility of doing things differently.. hence looks at exiting world critically.. (to marx being human: production and imagination).. when one tries to bring an imagined society into being, one is engaging in revolution.. 

revolution: instigating utopia every day

*of course most historical change not nearly so self conscious: it is the fact that people are not, for most part.. trying to reproduce own societies but simply pursuing value that makes it so easy for them to end up **transforming those same societies as a result

*have we even/ever had that? legit change? **so same song ness – not really 

transform: ‘make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of.

not thorough or dramatic enough.. ie: changing/tweaking.. but keeping form.. et al

in times of crisis..  though, this can change.. in any real social situation.. likely to be any number of such imaginary totalities at play, org’d around diff conceptions of value.. they may be fragmentary, ephemeral, or can just exist as dreamy projects or half realized ones defiantly proclaimed by cultists or revolutionaries.. how they knit together – or don’t – simply cannot be predicted in advance.. the one thing one can be sure is that they will never knit together perfectly

again.. don’t think we’ve seen legit change even in times of crisis..  perhaps if we did.. all the imaginations.. et al.. would fit together perfectly.. perhaps we can’t imagine that.. because we haven’t yet let go enough (or had the means to) leap

why leap et al

ultimate freedom is not the freedom to create or accumulate value, but the freedom to decide (collectively, or individually) what it is that makes life worth living.. in end then.. politics is about the meaning of life.. t

yeah.. let’s org for that freedom.. which begs we org around legit needs.. ie: a nother way



89: any notion of freedom.. demands both resistance against the imposition of any totalizing view of what society/value must be like, but also recognition that *some kind of regulating mech will have to exist, and therefore, calls for serious thought about what sort will best ensure people are in fact, **free to conceive of vale in whatever form they wish.. ***if one does not.. one is simply going to end up reproducing the logic of the market w/o acknowledging it.. and if we are going to try to think seriously about alts to the version of ‘freedom’ currently being presented to us – ie: nation states as protector of corp property; free market to protect financiers.. and personal freedom becomes limited to personal consumption – we had best stop thinking that these matters are going to take care of themselves and ****start thinking of what a more viable and hopefully, less coercive regulating mech might actually be like..t

ie: cure ios city – a *means to undo our hierarchical listening.. to get to **gershenfeld something else law ness.. ***otherwise.. same song of myth of tragedy and lord et al

imagine if we used tech as it could be

for (blank)’s sake

****yeah.. thought hard about this.. w all your thoughts.. for 10+ yrs.. 


ch 4 – action and reflection, or notes toward a theory of wealth/power

p. 92 – whenever one examines the processes by which the value of objects is established (and this is true whether one is dealing with objects of exchange or wealth more generally), issues of visibility and invisibility almost invariably seem to crop up. (showing/adorning vs hiding/protecting)

p. 94 – on money … rather than serving as a mark of distinctiveness (like jewels might), it tends to be identified with the holder’s generic, hidden capacities for action (jewels show character.. money generic/standard image)

95: foucault: in feudalism ‘power was what was seen’.. the powerless remained faceless spectators..  w end of feudal state.. terms of power reverse..  power is exercised by faceless/invisible Bs that inspect, examine, eval their objects.. the logic is one of surveillance.. and it is enshrined in such newfound institutions as the factory, the hospital inspection, the school exam, the military review..  objects of surveill now become individualized.. at least insofar as they each can be inspected, judged, ranked.. 

inspectors of inspectors et al


supposed to’s of school/work et al

p. 96 – as *clothes change – men’s away from colorful colorful .. seem fitting only for women.. male dresses for power/surveyor.. female as watched/surveyed

*men uniformed but act outward/visible.. women adorned but invisible/inward

bourdieu’s emphasis (1977) on how the grace/artistry of the truly competent social actor is largely dependent on that actor’s not being aware of precisely what the principles that inform her actions are.. these principles become conscious only when actors are jolted out of their accustomed ways of doing things by suddenly having to confront some clear alt to it.. a process bourdieu refers to as ‘objectification’..  **one become self-conscious, in other words, when one does not know precisely what to do

**usefully ignorant.. habit\us ness.. no agenda.. off script ness

97: lacan’s notion of the ‘mirror phase’ in children’s development.. infants, he writes, are unaware of he precise boundaries between themselves and the world around them. little more than disorganized bundles of drives/motivations, they have no coherent sense of self.. in part this is because they *lack any single object on which to fix one.. hence lacan’s ‘mirror phase’ which begins when the child first comes face to face w some external image of self which serves as the imaginary totality around which a sense of that self can be constructed.. nor is this a one time event.. the ego is, for lacan, always an imaginary construct: in everyday life and everyday experience, on remains a conflicting multiplicity of thoughts, libidinal drives, and unconscious impulses.. acting self and imaginary unity never cease to stand opposed.. 

*not a lacking.. rather.. a not yet scrambled ness which we’d do well to quit snuffing out.. (i think we have this all wrong.. we have no idea what legit free people are like)

tylor.. life soul: heart/breath.. hidden force.. thought.. intentionality.. inner capacity/powers  vs  image soul: shadow/reflection.. physical appearance..detached from actual physical being.. able to wander free of body.. endures after body’s death.. 

98: hobbes.. whatever is invisible.. ‘unknown.. that is.. of an unlimited power’.. total lack of specificity, in other words, implies an infinite potential.. what is entirely unknown could be anything.. could do anything..

to be visible.. is to be concrete/specific.. (from specere.. to look at).. also the object of actions.. alien male observer and passive female observed..  in similar way.. power exercises thru display of wealth/royal splendor is not an a power that acts directly onto others.. it is always in its essence a persuasive power, meant to inspire others acts of compliance, homage, or recognition directed towards person engaging in display.. 

on berger’s anal of ‘female presence’.. ‘men survey women before treating them.. how she appears can determine how she will be treated.. every woman’s presence regs wha tis and is not ‘permissible’ w/in her presence.. ‘

what berger describes is clearly a kind of power born of subordination.. perhaps it is better treated as a mere residual of power, all that’s left to those who have no access to the more direct variety. but in purely formal terms, there is little to distinguish it form the kind of power exercises thru the display of aristocratic wealth or royal splendor.. kings/nobles too could be said to have decorated selves w wealth in order to ‘demo to others how their whole selves would like to be treated’ after all in final analysis, a king’s status is based on his ability to persuade others to recognize him as such.. 

voluntary compliance et al

99: being .. if it is socially significant.. is congealed action, and just as every category is the other side of  set of practices (turner and fajans), every unique being is result of an equally singular history.. by engaging in persuasive display, then, all one is really doing is calling on others to *imitate actions that are implicitly being said to have already been carried out in the past

not sure i understand this.. but sounds like the death of us ness

100: by holding on to the stuff, the hoarder preservers his power, which is the power to buy anting at all.. for the hoarder, money becomes a kind of ascetic religion..  in which the owner tends to develop an intensely personal, even secretive relationship w the source of his powers.. the impulse, once one has accumulated a substantial hard, is always to hide it in the ground where no one else can see it.. marx did not see such behavior as deriving from capitalism.. but from nature of money itself.. its abstract/mystical powers.. transform self into the desired object (engles)

102: public/private.. visible/invisible: these were no mere casual metaphors.. the distinction between public/private was central to the way the greek polis defined itself..  disclosure of every power that had once been secret to the interiors/aristocrats.. brought into public domain of the agora where it was visible to all.. debated began to be carried out in public, laws published.. symbols/images moved to the temple.. and open public place..  money no exceptions.. private hoarding was discouraged by the state.. state of course kept its own hoard.. in private.. what it did release for private use.. stamped w its own impression

p. 103 – coinage not created to improve econ efficiency.. not so much an econ measure as a political one.. to be able to issue one’s own currency was a mark of political independence: eery city state, however small, felt obliged to do so.. 

why local currencies.. really just same song ness .. need to let go of any form of m\a\p

what i’m suggesting is that if the polis felt the need to stamp money with its own image, it did so because it saw money as a dangerous, furtive power that had to be tamed and domesticated by rendering it visible.

the to and fro of visibility… (nathan ness et al) .. does it enslave us.. or set us free.. or perhaps both… if the dance is right.. no?

batra hide in public law et al.. magis esse quam videri et al.. and the supposed to’s of school/work.. held in tact via observation et al

the emblem of public authority was to be impressed on it thru violence, literally hammered in.. the resulting coins were often things of great beauty.. in the end.. the very fact that the state was willing to seek out the finest artists of the day to cast its dies could be considered evidence of how desperate it had become to sub some other defn of value for one that had a continual capacity to elude it. it was an attempt to transform  money into an object of adornment, something visible in the most exemplary of fashions..  one might say (of coinage) that it is itself a mode for the process: transformation of private/invisible powers into legit, political ones.. ones made limited/particular by the public gaze.. 


the legend of gyges contains no explicit ref to the invention of coinage.. still, one might say that it is itself a model for th process: the transformation of private/invisible powers into legit, political ones.. ones made limited and particular by the public gaze

so.. legit=limited by structural violence of inspectors of inspectors et al

earlier i made distinction between two sorts of social power: power to act directly on others and power to define oneself in such a way as to convince others how they should act toward you.. one tends to be attributed to the hidden capacities of the actor, the other to visible forms of display.. by now it should be easy to see how this same analysis can also be applied to value..

so to *michel.. even value can’t be compared (graeber values law – values can’t be).. so measuring.. is just spinning our wheels/cancer.. toward what fuller calls inspectors of inspectors (So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors).. creating more bullshit jobs.. to earn/gain things we spend our lives measuring/comparing.. rather than living/being

*@monk51295 @davidgraeber how do you see graeber’s theory of value ? I read his whole book on the topic and concluded he thought there wasn’t any. Wrong interpretation ??
Original Tweet:

reply to michel: i see that as a major point he makes.. which leads to utopia of rules and bs jobs and debt and what b fuller calls inspectors of inspectors .. all our futile/wasted efforts/energies to define/theorize/control.. rather than to live

we need to let go of any form of m\a\p

also see utopia of rules – 78 – ‘i would not have written if not potential to throw important light on areas that would otherwise remain obscure’.. et al

if money tends to become an extension of its holder’s capacities to act on the world.. (thus inspiring, according to marx, the impulse to hide it).. also to social id of owners.. thus generating impulse to show them off.. the constant transformation of the visible into the invisible and back again.. their adornment – via mauss – seen as having individual id.. implies presence of hidden life force/agency.. just as in tylor, the inner life soul always lies hidden behind a person’s unique exterior ‘image’

105 – last lines of 1st/last full paras

p. 105 – value, after all, is something that mobilizes the desires of those who recognize it, and moves them to action. just as royal splendor calls on its audience to do as others have done.. so does the perception of value in objects of exchange.. ‘others have sought to acquire these things’ is the implicit message’ and therefore so should you’

marsh exchange law and socrates supposed to law et al

marx’s commodities (history ignored) differ from heirlooms (history wrong).. the object of desire becomes an illusory mirror of the desirer’s own manipulated intentions.

allowing for any inter – again to michel

a person looking into a mirror is split into active and passive, observer and observed. the very perception of one’s own image implies the existence of an unseen agent who is seeing it.

walter ong – .. it is in the nature of vision always to suggest a beyond something unseen. eyes take in only the surfaces of things…. looking at a thing, according to ong, is always looking at a mere fraction of a thing, and the viewer is always at least vaguely aware that there is something further underneath.

*the little prince – see with your heart

106: on beads aiding in differentiated measurings because.. easily transformed back and forth from unique to generic forms.. sewn together.. or broken up

110: it makes more sense to see this power of creation as emerging from their very lack of defn.. generic nature rep-ing unlimited possibility..t

graeber values law

naming the colour as blinding

114: central claim of this chapter is existence of a very widespread distinction between power to act directly on others (realized in future) and power to move others to action by displaying evidence of how ones’ self has been treated in past.. first rep’d as something hidden.. second thru forms of display

so too distinction between power of money and power/value of ‘heirloom jewelry’.. money rep’d as invisible potency because of its capacity to turn into many other things.. in future.. as opposed to objects whose value is rooted in past actions

if so.. to understand value to any object.. means to understand meaning of.. (all that makes up) its history.. which actions determine aspect of its value.. which to repeat?.. 

history ness

p. 115 – in fetishizing an object, then , one is mistaking the power of a history internalized in ones own desires.. for a power intrinsic to the object itself.. fetish objects become mirrors of the beholder’s own manipulated intentions.. 

fetishizing: ‘have an excessive and irrational commitment to or obsession with (something).

on defn of man not on what he is by what is lacking.. sense of absence, incompletion that moves us to action.. 

marx anal of exchange.. in which desired object is always concrete/particular.. could one not say that the abstraction.. lack of defn attributed to the desirer and his possessions is also a way of figuring desire.. marx’s dialectical terminology – makes the desirer seem an abstract content that can be realized only thru that particular concrete form..

even at this most individual level, then, action and refection endlessly imply each other in an infinite variety of conversion and transformation.. on grander levels of historical change.. similar dynamics are always in process of transforming.. the very categories by which value is perceived.. 

graeber values law

… these struggles over value are always, in the end, political – if only because the most important political struggles in any society .. will always be over how value itself is to be defined.

or perhaps we let go of all that.. and instead choose to live (rather than struggle/debate/define.. ie: focus on a means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature.. so we can get back to what really matters.. what enough is.. et al


ch 5 – wampum and social creativity among the iroquois

wampum on beach at fire island 


in terms of everyday affairs.. iroquois society often seems to have been about as close as there is to a documented case of a matriarchy.. most respects highly egalitarian.. office holders, male and female.. elected..

not egalitarian if people telling/deciding other people what to do

123: death in battle was quite unusual; in part, because the main purpose of war was taking of prisoners. ‘adopted’

125: for all their reputation as predatory warriors, the iroquois themselves saw the essence of political action to lie in making peace.. wampum was the essential medium of all peacemaking..  the giving/receiving of wampum.. 

126: exchange of wampum.. seen as way of opening up channels of communication.. not just so people could talk.. but opening them up to the universe as a whole

ie: non hierarchical listening

127: wampum was seen as carrying an intrinsic capacity to lift away grief.. 

wampum are themselves things of light, but they are also ‘words’ that unstop the ears/throats of those who receive them.. allowing them to pass into the domain of ‘self extension’ made possible only thru language

128: (after section on how evil they had become and giving of wampum helps them out) note once again the parallel between the removal of grief, and the bestowal of names.. one might say that in doing so they create society in two sense: 1\ by creating peace  2\ by establishing differentiation w/in this newly created peace.. giving society its structure

ie: cure ios city

p. 131 – … one can distinguish two diff forms of value here, which can also be thought of as two diff ways in which wampum was similar to speech.. on the one hand.. the designs of wampum used to resolve disputes or to “open channels of communication” were as ephemeral as ordinary conversation, but as in much ordinary conversation, what was said was not so important as the mere fact that people were speaking to one another...  wampum was not simply a representation of value… by assembling/presenting it as soothing words to unblock grief/anger in others, one actually created that peace and solidarity. like marx’s money, wampum was a representation of a value that could only be realized through its exchange.

if hidden, generic, or ephemeral wampum was the potential to create peace, heirloom belts were peace in it s crystalline from

p. 133 – ‘any of people of five nations may use shells (or wampum) as a record of a  pledged, contract or an agreement’ – the contractual language may seem a bit ex post facto, but ‘pledge seems far closer to the iroquoian conception than ‘gift’

it (pulling strings/beads out of pouch) was an act of revelation, of brining the invisible, intangible contents of mind or soul into visible, physical reality. this was in a sense the quintessential creative act, by which new political realities could be brought into being.  [earlier – wampum as word/thought/mind of giver..that made giving of wampum a pledge of sincerity, so that no important proposal or argument would be taken seriously without it.

ojibwa: .. the uniform kernel behind them (souls) is never itself visible to the eye. on the other hand, one thing all souls do have in common is an ability to speak, and “the only sensory mode under which it is possible for a human being to directly perceive the presence of souls of any category, is the auditory one. in other words, even if souls are invisible, they always make some sort of sound.

silence and cage

.. words themselves can be seen as mediating between the invisible and the visible in much the same way wampum does. they provide the necessary medium between hidden desires and concrete, visible realities. this is very important because, i think, it opens up the question of an underlying theory of creativity.

but too language as control/enclosure.. begs we go with something like idiosyncratic jargon

p. 135

on getting pregnant from speech/words

– … day after day, it continued that they sought to find his word.. what manner of thing his soul craved.

itch-in-the-soul – begs a mech to undo our hierarchical listening

illnesses, as we shall see, were normally understood to arise from frustrated desires: desires that were often as not unknown to their victims, or revealed only indirectly in their dreams.

sicko – mm

maté disease law

p. 136 – the dictatorship of dreams – custom of dream guessing appears to have been an importan one among all iroquoian peoples.. 1649 ragueneau writes of the huron: ….. ‘in addition to desire which generally have that are free/voluntary which arise from previous knowledge.. the hurons believe that our souls have other desires, which are, as it were, inborn and concealed.. now they believe that our soul makes these natural desires known by means of dreams, which are its language.

on each heart ness.. deep itch-in-the-soul

imagine if we

when desires accomplished.. satisfied/happiness.. when not.. angry/revolt/diseases/death

fittingness.. the death of us

p. 137 – to realize such dreams, though, one usually needed the help of others; and jesuit reports make it clear that neighbors or kin felt it was incumbent on them to comply with all such “wishes of the soul,” insofar as they were able to do so..t

could be huge

ie: imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

guessing of dreams.. presenting them as riddles/charades..

p. 138 – violence was much more in the foreground.. dream guessing festival.. people running like maniacs thru streets/cabins.. the point – the more noise/uproar.. the more relief the sick person will experience.

violent chaos, and indulgent patience on the part of the community, are followed by the actual guessing of dreams…. it would be cruelty, nay, murder, dablon notes, not to give a man the subject of his dream; for such a refusal might cause his death..t …. faking a dream was believed to lead to all sorts of terrible misfortunes.

the death of us

p. 139 – sequence: ignorance (dreamer not aware of own desire), aggression (wild ness of evening), and the need for others to transform one’s desires into reality.

.. not always easy to square the sketchy and often sensationalistic accounts of iroquois ritual to be found in early missionary sources with the meticulous descriptions compiled since the nineteenth century.

back to p 122 – egalitarian thru their dream rituals/abuses?

p. 140 – spontaneous dream-guessing seems to have vanished entirely.

the most striking of these changes is the degree to which what was obviously an extremely free-form and improvisational process has since become tamed and formalized. the “language” of dreams has now become codified, and dramatic reenactments no longer occur; instead, there is an established code of what dreams are significant .. t.. and an elaborate series of correspondences with certain foods and miniature talismans that are considered appropriate gifts for each.

jensen civilization law

language as control/enclosure

socrates supposed to law

Ed ness – dream ritual described here resonates with our credential ness rituals.. ie: (symbolic objects given) which the dreamer (again remember now only certain dreams are allowed) will normally keep afterward as her personal amulet or protector.

utopia of rules.. fuller too much law .. et al

p. 141 – so we are back where we started: with a dreaming god who once again seems slightly confused about his own role in the process of creation, and who (therefore?) ends up mixing urges for destruction (he killed his wife – down the tree hole) in his creativity.

this is not what i mainly want to emphasize, though. what really interests me is the underlying theory of creativity and its relation to conceptions of the person…. via persona (embodied and eternal name) & soul (inner seat of desires). one was embodied in visible tokens such as wampum, while the other was fundamentally invisible and perceptible mainly through dreams and voices. both were to a certain degree exterior to consciousness, but exterior, one might say, in opposite directions: one a social imposition, the other, desires so intimate even the desirer was not entirely aware of them.

ni ness – but too.. resonating with how both today are intoxicated.. ie: non legit voice ness not only coming from intoxication from outside non-legit ness pulling us away from us (maté trump law).. but also from intoxication from inside non-legit ness pulling us away from us .. begs a means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature

dreams were the desires of this inner soul, or “the language” in which those hidden, invisible desire could begin to take visual form.

nice. dream ness.

let’s try idiosyncratic jargon as our non enclosuring language

what wallace stresses, though, is that this process, by which hidden desires could become visible, manifest, and specific, finally taking on permanent material form – could happen only through the participation of others… the hidden can become visible (or the generic specific) only by the individual becoming social (or the specific, generic).

balance with.. what does visible mean? and to whom? and do we always need it..?

ie: there is never nothing going onthe little prince – see with your heartbatra hide in public law; et al

141: the iroquoian societies combined a very indulgent attitude toward children, with extreme psychological pressures on adults.. children never punished.. to frustrate a powerful desire in a child might engager their health.. adults on other hand.. esp men.. we held to high standards of generosity, bravery, stoic impassivity in face of hardship.. even when tortured to death

kids: not yet scrambled – graeber care/free law

adults: socrates supposed to law – black science of people/whales law

142: wallace’s observations on socialization are useful here, particularly his emphasis on the combo of indulgence of whims and ‘hardening’ of children (ie: leaving them underdressed in winter, dunking them in cold streams).. the two modes seem to rep opposite poles of same process.. meant to produce highly autonomous adults, as one might expect in a society that seemed to place a roughly equal stress on egalitarianism and individualism.. this labor of socialization

again.. 141-142 – torture/hardening as egalitarian ie?

supposed to’s of school/work

jensen civilization law

144: the curious thing is that despite embodying an essentially feminine virtue, wampum was one of the few important forms of property in iroquoian society that women did not control..  houses, fields, food, most tools, household implements.. were one of earliest and most important trade item acquired from europeans.. either owned by individual women or collective groups.. in which women played the most important roles.. while women actually wove the beads together.. circulated almost exclusively among men

and again.. egalitarian?

145: this might be considered a final way in which actions taken on the political sphere of peacemaking inverted those typical of that below: iroquois kinship after all, was largely a matter of groups of women exchanging men; politics, of mean exchanging an essentially feminine substance..  but one can also see it as the result of a necessary and inevitable tension in any philosophy of society that sees ‘peace’ as the ultimate human value..  the ultimate, encompassing value since it was about the relation of humans to the cosmos as a whole, the ultimate ‘imaginary totality’.. yet logically.. premised on prior existence of opposite.. *w/o war peace is meaningless..

*is it? not sure.. or.. rather.. maybe making meaning isn’t the point.. maybe life is more about living that making meaning.. maybe when we have legit peace.. making meaning becomes irrelevant ie: on dancing like a 5 yr old.. who is not yet scrambled

perhaps.. process (of weaving wampum belts) was meant to mediate: converting potential for destruction into harmony by integrating it into a larger social whole

thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman  et al

gershenfeld something else law – has to be all of us .. or it won’t work

146: delage: ‘w/in the huron community, there were no commercial transactions.. goods acquired were spontaneously shared.. this generalize practice of giving insured equality and accounted for the disdain w which the accumulation of goods was viewed.. it governed the rules of courtesy at all times as well as the huron penchant for games of chance, contributions to feasts, rituals, and carnivals, and the obligation to satisfy any desire expressed by a member o the community.. as a result.. not sellers/buyers.. commanders/commanded.. rich/poor.. among the hurons.. their hospitality towards all sorts of strangers is remarkable’..  delage argues that among the hurons, new regimes of property and the possibility of personal accumulation, really emerged only among converts to christianity; among the five nations, the y do not seem to have emerged at all.. 

hospitality ness

p. 147 – dream economy – combination of absolute unpredictability and ephemerality.


ch 6 – marcel mauss revisited

p. 151 – marcel (1900): ‘we have here an admirable ie of how capitalist property is created.. thus we see how ‘private property is founded upon labor’

hardt/negri property law

i believe mauss’ theoretical corpus is the single most important in the history of anthropology. he was a man with a remarkable knack for asking all the most interesting questions..

graeber and big questions


in many ways i think his (mauss’) work and marx’s form a perfect complement.. marx was a socialist w an ongoing interest in anthro; mauss, an anthro who, throughout his life, remained an active participant in socialist politics.. 

mauss’ uncle – emile durkheim.. founder of french sociology.. 

the ‘gift’ can be read as an exploration of the notion of the social contract.. 

bauwens contracts law

marshall sahlins once suggested that the problem mauss is ultimately tackling goes back to hobbes: *how do you create peace between people who have no immediate reason not to kill each other.. hobbes.. argued that given human beings; endlessly acquisitive propensities, a state of nature could only have been a ‘war of all against all;; society proper could only begin when everyone agreed to create some overarching political power.. the original ‘social contract’ then was a matter of people agreeing to abandon their right to use force, and invest in a state that was, in turns, capable of enforcing any **contracts they might agree to with each other.. 

*thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman

so.. imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

**public consensus always oppresses someone(s).. bauwens property law et al

p. 153 – by 19th cent.. line of argument proposed that the role of state coercion was not eternal.. and that human history was seeing a gradual shift from societies based on military, to econ competition, and free econ contracts between individuals.. durkheim pointing out that growth in private contracts.. far from causing state to wither away, was causing it to intervene in citizens’ lives as never before

in an intellectual climate like this.. it’s easy to see how ‘the origin of the contract’ would seem an important question.. and one in which the newly emerging field of anthro should have something to say.. in first pages of essay, mauss emphasizes twice that his work on gift is part of a much wider program of research ‘an archaic forms of contract’ … he also notes.. contrary to speculations of ie: hobbes, adam smith.. the first voluntary, contractual relations were not between individuals but between  social groups.. ‘clans, tribes, fams’.. 

gift-giving is a perfect example of this sort of thing: because it is a *purely voluntary act (or, anyway, can be) that nonetheless creates a sense of **obligation…… central question he intends to answer: in primitive or archaic societies what is the principle whereby the gift received has to be repaid?.. what force is there in the thing given which compels the recipient to make a return?

principle 1\ *not purely voluntary.. rather.. voluntary compliance.. principle 2\ if creates sense of *obligation.. not freely given .. but rather manufactured gift\ness .. so.. if assuming gift giving creates sense of obligation.. question is really one for whales.. not legit free people.. and irrelevant to human being

p. 154 – mauss repeatedly emphasizes that on the most primitive level (one that seems to exist entirely in his imagination) .. there is not alt between giving everything and all-out war.. no explanation of why members of diff cans, tribes, fams should feel inclined to kill each other in the first place is ever offered.. true the emphasis on hostility does make the anti  economism even richer.. 

as mauss notes.. w/in gift econs, even in cases where one really is simply interested in obtaining material goods .. one has to pretend otherwise.. there is no doubt a profound wisdom here. but in this case, the wisdom comes at a terrible price, because the underlying assumption that order and amicable relations are things that need to be explained, while the potential for violence and conflict does not (an assumption which came to be the basic starting point of structural-fuctionalism) ends up reinforcing the cynical premises which lie beneath economism if anything even more than mauss’ conclusion undercuts them.

mauss’ solution to the problem he set for himself, on the other hand, leads in an entirely diff direction.. why do people feel obliged to return gifts? his (m’s) answer is famous: objects are seen to partake of something of the personality of the giver…..the part of the donor’s soul that becomes, as it were, entangled in the gift, and that, through its wish to return home, compels the recipient to make a return.

obligation and reciprocity ness


levi strauss (1950) argued that mauss had made a fundamental logical mistake in trying to explain a phenom like reciprocity.. which he felt was rooted in the unconscious structure of the human mind.. it seems to me though that all this debate rather missed the point.. could say mauss’ interp produced a kind of myth.. but myth did capture something essential.. something difficult to express otherwise..  if it had not would have been long since forgotten.. 

to me.. the point is even deeper.. ie: that all we keep describing are how whales are/act in sea world.. 

all of this turns on a much broader point about relation of persons/things.. modern law makes strict distinctions between the two; it is only for this reason that modern theory can imagine that persons are motivated by something called ‘self interest’ which basically comes down to the desire to accumulate things.. one of the main points of the essay, as mauss repeatedly emphasizes.. is to call the whole set of assumptions underlying this notion of ‘self interest’ into question

most of mauss’ essays were works in progress.. prelim reports on ongoing projects of research.. he spent the last half of his life surrounded by uncomplete projects.. 

p. 156 – 1923-4 when mauss was writing the gift

157: one thing the russian experiment had proved was that it was not going to be possible to simply abolish buying/selling by writ.. lenin had tried. and even though russia was least monetarized society in europe, he had failed.. for the foreseeable future, mauss concluded.. we were stuck w a market of some sort or another.. 

until now.. we now have the means to let go of any form of m\a\p

still there *had to be a difference between ‘the market’ as a mere technique for the allocation of certain types of econ good (ie: between democratically org’d coops or professional orgs).. and ‘the market’ as it had come to exist in the industrial west.. as the basic organizing principle of social life, the ultimate determinant of value..

*not really.. that’s why rest of 158 et al

p. 158 – what mauss set out to do, then, was to try to get at the heart of precisely what it was about the logic of the market that did such violence to ordinary people’s sense of justice and humanity..t

any form of m\a\p as the death of us


to understand the popular appeal of socialist parties and social welfare programs, and by examining the ethnographic record, imagine what a society in accord w such popular standards of justice might look like: one in which the market could be relegated to its proper function, a a technique for decentralized decision making .. a kind of popular polling vice on the relative appeal of diff sorts of consumer goods.. and in which an entirely diff set of institutions preside over areas of really significant social value .. ie: ones centered on ‘the joy of giving in public, the delight in generous artistic expenditure, the pleasure of hospitality in the public/private feast

oi.. from decision making is unmooring us law to hospitality ness

..mauss began with what he called the “total prestation.” two groups that would otherwise come to blows end up instead creating a relation of complete mutual interdependence by offering one another everything

all or nothing ness. like trust is.

159: mauss quote: ‘system i will call of total prestations.. the obligatory present.. fictive gift.. legal theft..  is in reality a kind of communism w an individual, social, familial base.. fundamental error consists in opposing communism and individualism..

mauss argued that it was a key mistake to assume that ‘primitive communism’ was a matter of collective ownership: 1\ because personal possession of some sort always exist.. 2\ even where property is owned by group.. it is rarely democratically administered.. one has to look not to title, then, but principles of access/distribution.. when someone has the right to take what she feels she needs w/o any direct payment or reciprocation, then this is communism.. 

not about how to pay/repay.. rather – just to take care – like village with your song ness and the dance of have\need ness



chris gregory ref.. 

value at lse

162: mauss was not trying to describe how the logic of the marketplace, with its strict distinctions between persons and things interest and altruism, freedom and obligation, had become the common sense of modern societies. above all, he was trying to explain the degree to which it had failed to do so; to explain why so many people – and particularly, so many of the less powerful and privileged members of society – found its logic morally repugnant.

… he was trying to understand…. why it was that social insurance legislation, “inspired by the principle that the worker gives his life and labor partly to the community, and partly to his bosses” and therefore deserved more than a weekly wage, seemed right. his answer, quite different from marx’s, was that a relation of wage labor was a miserable and impoverished form of *contract. because, as we’ve seen, the elementary form of social contract is, for mauss, precisely, communism: that is, an open-ended agreement in which each party commits itself to maintaining the life of the other. in wage labor the worker does give of the totality of himself, he “gives his life and labor,” but the cash he receives in return has nothing of the same total quality about it. if one gives one’s life, one’s life should at least be guaranteed.

*thinking we need any contract is an impoverished form of humanity

earn a living et al

p. 163 – marx’s work consists of a brilliant and sustained critique of capitalism.. he carefully avoided speculating about what a more just society would be like..  mauss’ instincts were quite the opposite: he was much less interested in understanding the dynamics of capitalism than in trying to understand – and create – something that might stand outside it.. t

huge – need: legit alt

rather than spinning our wheels debating/recapping/blah-blah-ing history ness

begs we org around legit needs

ie: a nother way

ie: cure ios city

short bp

164: at any rate.. in trying to bring mauss’ material into relation w the theoretical issues that have cropped up over the course of this book – issues of value, history, potential, visibility, and so on.. 

just wondering about history ness connections to visibility ness.. connections to not-us ness.. ie: masks and measures et al.. if can see/define it.. not legit.. or at least partial.. so not really legit as means of theory

165: a child’s upbringing follows same implicit pattern.. mother side provide food.. father side bodily adornment.. the beauty/magic crucial to .. exchange.. 

and just wondering about female ness as  fittingness and male ness as (opp of – so really back to masks and measures) magis esse quam videri ness .. (still thinking though that there is no binary ness like male/female.. just degrees in all people?)

166: in munn’s terms, their greater value (after gift given .. not mere reciprocity but an increment in value) lies in their capacity to open the way to the control of more expansive levels of space/time.. one could also see it as derived from their greater capacity to *convey history.. though in this instance.. these really come down to same thing.. potential value of object realized only by giving them away and allowing them to circulate.. thus carrying his name along w them.. an objects capacity to embody history simply determines how far that name can go

rather to *control – to write own version of history ness .. et al.. 

what’s more, the actions of engaging in kula exchange are simply an extension of those that create persons; actions that can be quite neatly divided here into those organized around two contrastive values, on centering on the (dark, heavy, interior, invisible) aspect of the self id’d w the matrilineal clan, the other, on the (bright, light, exterior, visible) aspect id’d w fame and beauty.. 

just as proposed in ch 4.. the hidden interior of the individual is id’d w powers of action (women), and the external particularity w a seductive power capable of inspiring actions in others (men)..  

inside (matri) inspires action.. ie: caring labor.. outside (adorn) inspires others to act ie: maté trump law; voluntary compliance.. et al

167: on sabarl, according to battaglia, people make an explicit distinction between two aspects of the self: on the one hand an internal dynamic energy or life force hidden w/in the body (here too associated w food), on the other a ‘soul’ w an external ‘image’.. the word used bears the literal meaning of ‘shadow’ or ‘reflections’

is his action to reflection as inside is to outside? (ch 4 p 92 – action and reflection)

on funeral ceremonies.. a major occasion for exchange.. paternal kin gives goods.. matriclan give foods

so also as foods is to goods?

but this does not alter the larger point, which is that one cannot hope to understand the circulation of valuable in a ‘gift econ’ of this sort w/o first taking into account the more fundamental processes by which the human person is created/dissolved.. and that when such general principles as action and reflection, or the movement between abstract potential and concrete form do appear – which they generally do – these too are always aspects of persons before they are aspects of things

still just wondering what ‘action and reflection categories’ means

168: kula .. like so many shell valuables.. seem to be such perfect embodiments of value because they combine exterior brilliance w the constant reminder of a  dark, mysterious, womblike interior.. 

one seemed obsessed w essences.. the other w surfaces 

need to get to essence


ie: masks and measuresmagis esse quam videri; et al

wondering if wengrow groks the ‘action/reflection category’ and the graeber values law as values vs value.. et al

169: kwakiutl .. was one of radical heterogeneity.. (vs polynesian societies everyone from gods so homogenization) .. was fragmented into social groups.. leaders were incarnations of totemic creatures.. that had no real connection w each other.. what the system lacked was any uniform medium for comparison..

so kwakiutl – who were all different.. as those w/masks/surfaces (to me masks and measures).. but no medium for comparison? so like value (no plural) .. but claiming graeber values law?

hence sahlins notes diff in demands for western goods when each society first came in contact w world market system: hawaiian lords immediately sought unique treasure to set selves apart from other lords; kwakiutl chiefs accumulated 1000s and 1000s of identical hudson bay trade blankets, which became a kind of uniform currency of prestige

so the diff ones looking to get uniform goods (so could measure value?) and the ones homogenous looking to get unique goods.. so they could be set apart..?

171: w/in this usage there seems to be a recognition that political power is built largely on reputation; that it si only the fact that others believe on has it hat allows it to exist.. as such it required constant maintenance: maori nobles (and just about all free men considered themselves noblemen) were notoriously touchy. to leave even an implied sleight or insult unavenged would lead to the weakening of one’s mana,  unless set straight by some sort of utu, some act of recompense, reciprocity or revenge.. 

just thinking about unoffendable ness.. and all the red flags

173: all this does recall the terms i was developing in ch 4: the passive aristocrat, oriented toward the past, whose role is just to be; the active warrior oriented toward the future. but the particularly metaphysical quality of maori philosophy also means that it is difficult to make a clear distinction between, say, visible forms of power id’d w the display of property and hidden powers of action..

is this reflection vs action?

first of all, the persuasive display of wealth simply was not much of a factor.. instead.. on has a constant moment back and forth between visible/invisible forms.. w the usual idea being that the form are simply particular, probably ephemeral, emanation of the latter; and all of this takes place in a context of danger and overall cosmic strife.. 

thinking of graeber/wengrow back & forth law

this becomes esp clear when one looks at property.. the ‘personal tapu’ of an important person very much extended to their possessions.. ie: throw cloak over 1\ prisoner.. life spared  2\ man by woman.. marriage

174: in all these cases we are dealing w some version of ‘the law of the strongest’.. since id’ing ie: a canoe w one’s backbone.. didn’t give anyone a right to it.. such an action was a test of power: one still had to persuade others to agree (even if from fear) or defend one’s claim by force.. but successful persuasion, intimidation, or the application of force was, it seems clear, itself the proof of one’s mana..

much of what would normally be called gift exchange seems to have taken the form of mutual appropriation: one party requests some object.. the owner immediately supplies it.. then later appears to request something of roughly equiv worth

p. 175 – early european visitors to new zealand soon had to teach themselves never to praise or admire an object of maori manufacture, lest its owner immediately press it on them and then later expect to be able to demand something of roughly equal worth.

obligation ness.. with our praise.. with our thanks.. with our welcomes

on the need to pause/reset our value at least daily.. so we’re not caught up in (wilde’s) other’s quotes/passions…

there seems to have been a complex set of principles governing who could demand, or give, what to whom under what circumstances – one whose finer points it is by not impossible to reconstruct.. ie: sometimes people did offer important heirlooms as gifts.. the recipient was under no obligation to accept (mauss’ ‘obligation to receive’ was apparently not in effect in aotearoa).. but if he/she did, acceptance was seen as placing the donor in a situation in which he would later be able to demand almost anything in return.

oi obligation ness – socrates supposed to law et al

177: when one speaks of the hau or mauri of a person, however (as opposed to of a forest/coast), one is not talking about ‘productivity’ in anything like the same sense: the term does not appear to have anything to do either w human fertility, or to material production of any sort.. rather, it appears to be rooted in a certain notion of essence.. first calls it ‘vital essence: the assumption being that behind any material form is an invisible, dynamic power that makes it what it is.. it is at once the source of appearance and potential for action, which , .. was for maori philosophers seen as merely an expression of an inner nature.. if interfered w, contaminated, or ‘lost’ .. the object or being that is its emanation.. in this case, a human being – will therefore begin to lose its integrity, decay, or simply die

vital essence: an expression of an inner nature.. if interfered w, contaminated, or ‘lost’ .. the object or being that is its emanation.. in this case, a human being – will therefore begin to lose its integrity, decay, or simply die.. t


gabor on addiction/trauma/needs..  maté basic needs et al and the death of us

181: such gifts (ie: cooked foods placed in mouth of image) were ‘an agent of control disguised as propitiation’ (appeasing – win/regain favor)


182: they form a compressed icon of the actions accomplished thru their medium: growth, detachment from the source of growth, destruction of the generative power in a way that makes its products appropriable for human beings.. it’s a motion that renders the two key principles of value in maori society – divine generation and human appropriation – two moments of a single frozen narrative

on how stopping the motion (ie: defining, labeling, et al) is the death of us

186: on the other hand, if these stories contain little about property, and almost nothing about gifts, they are very much about reciprocity.. the notion of utu, of paying back debts, is the central theme of most of them: it is just that the idiom of reciprocity is overwhelmingly one of violence.. t

reciprocity as structural violence as red flag

the idiom of reciprocity is overwhelmingly one of violence

graeber violence/quantification law

189: these themes run thru kwakiutl life: the tendency to break tasks down into highly specialized and differentiated bits, each involving its own specialized set of tools; the tendency for endless duplication, and for making piles of wealth.. it is very difficult to explain all this in terms of eco ‘adaptation’.. more reasonable to approach it as a question of value..

mumford non-specialized law

if value is ultimately about how people portion out their creative energies, then most hunter gatherer societies known to anthros behave much like agri societies such as the kayapo: they devote most of those energies not so much to he production of material things as that of certain sorts of people.. in anthro.. the mechs by which they do so tend to be labeled ‘kinship systems’..

on valuing production over people

190: for people living in such a bounteous environ.. the kwakiutl seemed to place a peculiar emphasis on hunger.. ritual involved constant creation of the experience of hunger.. not only was self control/denial at table considered a mark of noble status.. but rather than being moments of collective indulgence, feasts were almost always solemn affairs at which the portion served were unsatisfyingly small.. and nobles were not even supposed to finish their portions.. everything was happening as if the system was meant to create a feeling of deprivation where none really needed to exist.. t

garden-enough ness

the most reasonable place to look for an explanation.. it seems to me.. is in the existence among the kwakitul of something very much like a class system.. 

in other words.. it would seem that the existence of rich, storable, food surpluses on the northwest coast both eliminated much of the insecurity which tends to generate such an emphasis, and at same time allowed the emergence of a kind of rule.. 

storage ness creating class ness

191: important to bear in mind that just about all of this was part of what was in the end a losing struggle – an effort of an elite to redefine its privilege in face of equalizing forces.. not just that these accounts present an almost exclusively male, aristocratic pov.. one can never be quite sure how much the historical memory itself is somewhat reconstructed w political ends in mind..t ie: were feasts always org’d to create illusion of hunger? or was that a later development? were aristocrats really forbidden to hunt/fish?.. *it’s impossible to say.. of course **most texts are problematic in one way or another.. i’m emphasizing the matter here only because it bears somewhat on what i am mainly interested in: the relation between cosmological conceptions, notions of the person, and the exchange of gifts..

thinking of whales and research ness – *we have no idea.. **most/all data/history non legit

192: life cycle of an aristocrat was marked by potlatches and the distribution of property; life cycle of a commoner ( a house person) was not.. hence boas/hunt found it impossible to collect info about kinship relations among commoners.. aristocrats claimed commoners did not marry but ‘stuck together like dogs’; commoners said they would be too ashamed to even speak of such matters.. it would seem most houses, for ie, contained both aristocratic and commoner families, but it’s impossible to know how these related to each other, because in the accounts, commoners simply disappear

193: below them (children), slaves were not considered members of the group at all

the key to understanding the system is to understand that one’s id thus became caught up in one’s possessions

identity ness and property ness

the ownership of the treasures, then, was everything.. not surprising then, that the family histories provided by boas are overwhelmingly about property, its acquisition and transfer.. or that claude levi strauss.. despairing of trying to figure out the kwakiutl descent system thru more conventional means, ended up creating an entirely new concept ‘the house‘.. in order to do so, arguing that, much like medieval aristocratic fams, kwakitul descent was really org’d around a patrimony – houses, lands, heirlooms, family honor, conveyed by inheritance, marriage, gift, et al

194: obviously, in any such system, the rules of transfer become all important.. as w most ranking systems, however.. it was impossible to get the same version from any two informants.. 

even when the total pop had hit rock bottom, however, and the total number of adult males was well below the number of available titles.. distinctions between aristocrats and commoners were maintained .. though it often took the aristocrats frantic efforts to prevent titles from passing to those they considered unworthy.. however.. all this could be accomplished only by developing an inheritance system of truly baroque complexity, so intricate/pliable that it is almost impossible to reconstruct how property had been transferred in simpler time.. t

inspectors of inspectors et al 

195: elements of the person – it should be clear enough by now that this was a society in which property played a crucial role in the constitution of social id.. at least in case of titles and their associated treasures, on taking possession of them, one literally became someone else.. t

wilde not-us law..  unfittingness.. whales

brown belonging law et al

mauss’ famous essay – ‘category of the person’.. 1938.. mauss began by noting that the latin word ‘persona’ is in fact originally derived from an etruscan word, phersu, meaning ‘mask’.. t  presumably, wrote mauss, such a system is ultimately derived from something like the kwakiutl one, in which only nobles had true personae, and these were embodied in certain sorts of emblematic property, passed in ancestral line, that literally made the person who he was.. in fact.. such emblematic properties.. entirely caught up in a kind of theater.. .. properties themselves.. considered theater props.. 

masks and measures

196: even in pre contact times, it would seem that one of the great aims of any great noble was to accumulate as many of these subsidiary names as possible, to literally swell oneself up w more/more id’s.. as a kwakwala speaker would no doubt put it, to become increasingly ‘weighty’.. this notion of weight .. was the key to the underlying notion of value.. t

marsh label law et al

197: walens suggests that the kwakiutl saw almost everything as a box.. collective property and food storage’s name as itself a kind of box in which powers/qualities/rights are contained..  ‘humans are born from boxes, swaddled in boxes, catch, store and serve their food in boxes, live in boxes, travels in boxes, and when they die are buried in boxes.. even the body itself is a type of box: humans not only live/die in boxes, but are themselves boxes.. names act as containers for invisible spiritual matter in the way that wooden boxes contain material items

on little boxes/containers/lables/enclosure .. et al.. testart storage law et al

199: marriage.. as i mentioned, marriage was concerned primarily w the transfer of ancestral property; so much so that commoners, who had none, were not considered to marry at al.. marriage was often represented as the equiv of war

marriage\ing et al

p. 200 – it is in part for this reason that rituals themselves could be referred to, in the kwakwala language, as “frauds” – though this made them no less sacred. indeed, the presence of sacred power, nawalak, was seen above all in its ability to make its audience shiver with fear.

Ed/manufacturing consent ness.. structural violence.. et al

201: potlatches were meant to ‘fasten on’ names.. 

202: because the names themselves almost invariably refer to wealth and the habit of giving it away

all (theatrics et al) meant to wow the appreciative spectator

p. 203 – ultimately everything goes back to theater, to what one can put over on a (demanding but appreciative) public. the title and treasures would be meaningless without it: everything about them refers to the presence of an audience.. dimensions of audience corresponds, from actor’s pov, to dimensions of society as a whole.. and of course here ‘the actor’ is to be taken in most literal sense.. which brings us back to my original point about history.. these performances are no tin themselves remembered.. ‘great deeds’ like most great performances, tend to disappear.. kwakiutl theater is semi improv; the costumes/props/performances undergo constant innovation/refashioning, but almost none of creative energies that go into them leaves a permanent trace on collective memory

on potlatches as cosmic events.. wealth, distributions of wealth, princesses,.. are all about adding ‘weight’ to one’s name.. becoming big/heavy in one’s turn.. if there is one single notion of value that pervades kwakiutl culture it is this notion of ‘weight’.. which in the case of a formal title, was measured by total amount of wealth give in order to fix the title on.. a title’s rank often seemed 2ndary matter in comparison.. the consummate image of success is .. when host is likened to giant mtn, infinitely heavy.. from which blankets and other wealth flow down like an avalanche of property … simultaneously enriching/imperiling everyone around.. it’s an image that perfectly sums up the peculiar kwakirutl combination of aggression and generosity

204: with all these particular, incommensurable centers (ie: animal skins had diff histories et al), it should be obvious why some generic medium of comparison became so important.. hence the appeal of hudson trade blankets.. 

p. 205 – part of the overall purpose of ritual was, as in most hunting cosmologies, to aid in an endless recycling of souls.. but even the skins were not really a uniform medium of exchange: while they could be seen as rep ing souls of individual animals.. were obviously of diff sorts/sizes/qualities

skins to blankets to money (1910-20)

intro of trade blankets allowed for a number of other innovations.. most important was the creation of what might justly be considered a system of high finance.

graeber f & b same law

206: value of coppers seems to derive at least in part from the fact that they are considered equiv to human lives..

literally.. ie: seen as equiv to slaves.. (war captives).. so free to use slaves/coppers however.. buy/sell/kill..  1849 colonization of vancouver island.. war/slavery both came to an end; but copper began to be produced in large numbers/importance.. both in finance and as subs from slaves.. .

gare enslavement law

207: origin of coppers always a mystery; seen as coming from far away, outside of community, a kind of generic elsewhere..  if accumulate history.. these histories were extremely brief

on copper as vital energy itself..- widerspack-thor calls coppers a “metaphor of energy,” a “container and catalyst of energy held in each individual, each chief, each tribe”…sergei kan argues that coppers were like slaves in that they were in a certain sense persons and in a certain sense not; also”like slaves, coppers were “alive,” and hence were the quintessential wealth exchangeable for all other types of property.

energy.. ness – to be human – alive

it was because they were alive that coppers could be killed.. 

the death of us ness

209: maori histories all about reciprocity/revenge.. w next to nothing on property.. kwakiutl histories quite other way.. ie: how little role of reciprocity plays.. boas/mauss mistaken takes on ‘obligation to reciprocate’ colored most discussion of subject since.. but in fact.. under normal circumstance.. there does not seem to have been any obligation to reciprocate involved.. ie: most didn’t have own potlatches (where recip took place) and via curtis (via testart): if chief at potlatch so much as remarked he had given more.. most would consider this to his profound discredit.. since a real chief shouldn’t care

so aren’t they still recip ing? if even talking about.. taking note of .. whether people are taking account or not.. rendering ‘discredit’ .. ‘the act of recognition giving it entailed’.. et al

reciprocity et al.. as structural violence

210: one becomes what one is given.. so k opp of m

211: most important maori heirlooms so caught up in id’s of owner.. couldn’t really be given away at all; for kwakiutl.. so id’d w particular person that if given way, recipient became the person the giver used to be.. at either extreme id does not facil reciprocity. it makes reciprocity impossible

even in our own society inheritance is the most common, and ambiguous, form of gift: on one hand, to pass on one’s wealth is obviously not an act of pure self interest; on other, it is gifts of this sort that are responsible for most of society’s fundamental ineq’s

p. 213 – so why, then, does the identity of the modern celebrity not rub off in a similar way, if only slightly, with the transfer of guitar picks or autographed photos? the answer, i think, is that the celebrity’s mystique – if one wishes to cal it that – is seen as being derived not from an exterior apparatus, but from within. what makes bb king famous is .. not his guitar but his ability to play it…. derived from inside, (essence/capacity/talent) rather than from anything he or she owns….. in such system (kwakiutl).. the key issue would be not the ability to play .. but the right to do so.. (if given bb king’s guitar)

214: it is because of money’s resistance to history that its id does not cling to the former owner.. ie: graeber can become riches if gates gives him money.. but not best designer if given rights to software he designed.. or not best blues player if given lucille.. et al

216: the custom precisely the same, except in the one hand the idiom is of complete, open handed generosity; in the other, aggressive appropriation.. 

maori – generative power of the gods …. made people fundamentally the same, differentiation (individualism) was seen as an effect of conflict and strife. (kin invites people to aggressively raid king’s house). kwakiutl – individualism to create society in first place (king invites all to come and take whatever).. the dilemma then was not about self defn but abut defn of others.. in this light.. potlatch was mech for endless re creation of society: society defined.. as a potential audience.. the totality of those people whose opinions matter to a social actor.. reproducing society is about assembling and having a dramatic effect on audience.. this is the aim of really significant social action; gifts, and accompanying recognition, .. medium and final recognition

we’re so messed up 

217: mauss’ intellectual project: explore common moral basis of all human societies

gabor on addiction/trauma/needs

the problem is always one of finding viable terms of comparison

so why do we?.. graeber values law et al.. i see glimpses of why people think measuring is a means to stop ineq.. but it’s not deep enough .. not root of healing enough.. so just exasperates us by perpetuating tragedy of the non common

so.. why do gifts have to be repaid.. they don’t.. question should be: when do they have to be?

218: unlike competitive gift exchange, “total prestations” created permanent relationships between individuals and groups, relations that were permanent precisely.. because no way to cancel them out by a repayment.. most of us treat our closest friends this way (from each according to abilities to each according to needs).. no accounts need to be kept because the relation is not treated as if it will ever end – louis blanc.. communism is built on an image of eternity.

david on communism

sahlins defines ‘generalized reciprocity’ as the kind of open ended responsibility that prevails among close kin, all of whom will do whatever they can to hep the other, not because they expect repayment, but *simply because they know that in a similar crisis, the other would do the same

isn’t that thinking .. a repayment thinking? a reciprocity thinking? .. a (nicer but sill) calculated thinking? .. so to me.. not *simple enough

makes me think of gershenfeld something else law – and that they only way out of this.. and back/to us.. is for everyone to be so busy/free doing whatever they want.. to think of ‘taking account of things’ – aka: any form of m\a\p

it’s like nobody knows/groks basic needs because we got so caught up in thinking/knowing ness.. rather than listening.. 

219: he contrasts it w the ‘balanced reciprocity’ that prevails between people who, though less close, are nonetheless *close enough that they feel obliged to deal w each other on a moral basis.. ‘balanced recip’ interestingly enough, would thus include both classical gift exchange and the less cutthroat forms of trade/barter

perhaps because none of them are about being legit *close enough

ie: thurman interconnectedness lawwhen you understand interconnectedness it makes you more afraid of hating than of dying – Robert Thurman

if one eliminates the confusing term ‘reciprocity’ from the picture, it soon becomes apparent that the classic gift counter gift scenario has a lot more in common w market exchange than we normally assume.. at least in comparison w the sort of open ended communism mauss took as his starting point.. where the latter is all about maintaining a permanent sense of mutual obligation, the former is about the denial of obligation and a max assertion of individual autonomy.. in fact.. one could even say that gift exchange of this balanced sort is actually more concerned w asserting the absolute autonomy of the actors than most market contracts.. ie: of rental contract.. pretending to be more constrained (owing each other money/maintenance) then actually are.. in classic gift scenario.. it is precisely the opposite: giver pretends he expects/desires nothing whatever in return .. recipient pretends not bound by any sense of obligation to make a countergift.. both parties are claiming to be far freer and more autonomous than they actually are

yeah.. any form of m\a\p.. messes with us.. makes us whales

emphasis on autonomy is key.. ie: ‘creating social relations’ really about creating relations of most minimal, temp kind: ones that can be completely canceled out.. what’s more.. while they exist they are completely unequal.. once they equal out.. relationship is ended.. at every point the emphasis is on minimizing any sense of obligation/dependency.. even where it does exist..  

yeah.. am seeing interdependency and obligation as completely diff.. obligation sets us on a path of accounting ness.. 

‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

while it is certainly true that tit for tat exchange of this sort can help create an ongoing, mutually supportive relationship.. it has only really done so when it stops being strictly tit for tat

and i’d say.. won’t ever get to legit relationship/connected ness.. until we let go of that accounting ness.. any form of m\a\p.. which includes tit for tat ness

p. 220 – rather than “generalized” or “balanced” reciprocity, then, it might be better to think of reciprocity as relatively “open” and “closed”: open reciprocity keeps no accounts, because it implies a relation of permanent mutual commitment; it becomes closed reciprocity when a balancing of accounts closes the relationship off, or at least maintains the constant possibility of doing so. phrasing it this way also makes it easier to see the relation as a matter of degree and not of kind: closed relations can become more open, open ones more closed.

among the maori tit for tat giving was more common; but even here the real meaning of the famous hau of the gift – if my interp is correct – is precisely its ability to free one from the perils of such a relationship

 any form of m\a\p.. if we want ie: undisturbed ecosystemcommon\ing; eudaimonia\tive surplus; et al

short findings restate

seems the closed recip of gift/counter is in fact the form of gift exchange that least embodies what makes a ‘gift econ’ diff from market exchange.. why then did mauss put it at center of his anal – even largely ignoring those networks of individualistic communism that were actually far more important in most of societies he was dealing with?.. i think answer lies in : the obligation to return gifts, in modern society, cannot be explained either by the market ideology of self interest or by its complement, selfless altruism..  part of reason.. but another deeper one.. which has to do w freedom

obligation ness and trouble with Charles..

and on mauss ignoring cases of individualistic communism – ni ness

221: mauss emphasized that our accustomed sharp division between freedom/obligation is .. like that between interest and generosity, largely an illusion thrown up by the market, whose anonymity makes it possible to ignore the fact that we rely on other people for just about everything.. unless one wishes to live a solitary life, freedom largely means the freedom to choose what sort of obligation one wishes to enter into and with whom.. 

argh.. words.. thinking of bishop freedom law.. but i know that sounds like obligation.. i just don’t think we get legit free\dom.. because we’ve never let go enough (ie: of any form of m\a\p).. to see its legit dance

perhaps then we have an answer to our initial question: when do gifts have to be repaid? if one is speaking of strict equivalence, the answer is:

gifts have to be repaid when “communistic” relations are so identified with inequality that not doing so would place the recipient in the position of an inferior. 

on obligation to reciprocity coming from “communistic” relations identified w/inequality

again – seeing the hope for freedom of obligation/reciprocity… by basing our everyday life on equity: everyone getting a go.. everyday.. imagine if we

222: standard of equiv between objects can emerge from need to establish social equality.. lit on reciprocity, such apparently senseless exchange of identical things has taken on a surprisingly important role.. ie: edmund leach takes principle to logical extreme by arguing this is only way to establish social equality: ”how do you do’ .. shaking hands.. to sending xmas cards.. in like for like recip.. but majority of exchanges are not like for like.. for most.. the ineq of the exchange is congruent w the ineq of the status’.. surely this is too simplistic.. still such reductio ad absurdae can be useful in clarifying issues.. ie: if two terms were utterly unlike, they could not be compared at all.. this is why black os opp of white and not of grog.. if they could not be compared they could not be declared unequal in the first place.. 

223: same goes for act of declaring two things equiv.. by doing so one is not stating that they are same in every way: one is simply stating they are same along dimensions one considers important in that context.. and that other possible criteria are, in that context, irrelevant.. ‘all human beings are equal because they are all equally in possession of an immortal souls; fact that their feet vary radically in size has no bearing’.. element of value here.. turns on which criteria are considered meaningful/important in any give context.. 

imagine if we could live like .. nationality: human – and render any/everything else (any form of m\a\p) irrelevant s

fairly self evident.. matters become more complicated when one moves from what people feel should not be compared to what they feel cannot.. ie: dumont’s ‘all human beings are equal because all are unique’.. our individuality makes us incommensurable, hence effectively equiv.. 

discrimination as equity ness

224: all this is not so much a digression as it might seem. what i am trying to suggest is that in order to understand the workings of any system of value, one has to examine both what should not, and what could not, be measured or compared w/in it.. in the case of a gift econ, then, the refusal to keep track of inputs/outputs in communistic relationships could be considered an ie of the former; the emphasis on unique valuable in balance gift exchange of the latter.. as we have seen, such valuables often do end up being ranked by the degree of their incommensurability..  ie: at lowest level is cooked food. it would be a fairly simple mater to keep track of who had given who the largest meals of cooked yams; therefore, unless one is particularly stingy/ungracious, one does not try to do so.. 

p. 225 – timeless relations of open-ended, communistic reciprocity,.. distinguished from balanced gift-exchange. while the former can often slip into relations of patronage and exploitation .. the latter has a tendency to degenerate into outright competition..

i think they both do.. i don’t think there is enough of a distinction.. as long as there is any form of m\a\p (which includes recip)

w/in relations of presumed inequality, no presumption of reciprocity exists.

unless it’s via serfdom ness.. no? gare enslavement law et al

p. 226 – the ultimate valuables of a society or group will normally be those that are never given away..

compare to godin’s art – where you’d do anything to give it away..

on our habits .. ie: bottle of wine to dinner, communal living in college  -gradually back to individualism… makes spontaneity more difficult.. as much a bar to sociality as an expression of it

227: to adopt a critical perspective on a practice or institution ( as i have just done) is usually a matter of *placing it w/in some larger social totality.. in which it can then be seen to play an intrinsic part in the reproduction of certain forms of ineq, or alienation, or injustice.. this is what marxists usually accuse mauss of forgetting to do, and not entirely w/o reason.. but here the maussian could well reply that for criticism to have any purpose, one **must also be able to place some practices on institutions w/in and imaginary totality in which they might not contribute to the reproduction of ineq, alienation or injustice.. such question were clearly rarely far from mauss’ mind, and for me, ***this is precisely what is most radical about his thinking.. it encourages us to view practices/institutions in terms of their potentialities, to force on oneself a kind of pragmatic optimism.. 

*deep enough for global systemic change – has to be organism as fractal – can’t be dead (death evidenced by all the red flags.. by any form of m\a\p).. this is 


for (blank)’s sake

**i read/see this as it needing to be again deep enough for 8b people to resonate with today.. even inspectors of inspectors et al.. so that no one is forced to let go of any practices/institutions.. but they too (because of the deep beauty of teh alt – something they too already craved).. are able to see all else as irrelevant

***ie: cure ios city

ie: ‘capitalism’.. usually defined as broadly as possible as any form of self interested fin calculation.. is always present everywhere..  mauss’ defn would do the opp.. it would present us w the possibility that the specter of communism might *lurk not only w/in families and friendships but w/in the very org of corp capitalism itself, or any situation in which people are united in a **common task, and inputs/outputs therefore org’d only by the actors’ capacities/requirements rather than by any balancing of accounts

true that.. *already in us ness.. problem is .. we’ve never let go that much to see.. so only still perpetuating tragedy of the non common

easy sign of not letting go enough.. (to see what’s already in us) .. thinking we have to train/prep – so again.. any form of m\a\p

again huge

critical that these *common tasks.. not be any form of coercion.. so imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness..

w/o a critical perspective.. such a gesture is just as meaningless as the habit of seeing ‘capitalism’ everywhere.. even if this is a kind of communism, it remains lodged w/in larger structure that are anything but egalitarian.. 


need to get the whales out of sea world first – all of us.. globally.. or it won’t work..  for (blank)’s sake

but as mauss also emphasized, its the presence of such practices/institutions that make it possible for people w/in the society to see those larger structures as unjust.. 

yeah.. i’m afraid we’re too deep in sea world to see/do that – ie: thinking restate/update 7.18

228: there are any number of ways one could put the pieces together, if one wanted to use such ideas to help develop a concrete visions of how a more egalitarian society might work, in a way, though, i think this is quite as (it) should be. it strikes me that what we really need now is not one but as many diff visions as possible.. t.. i like to think this would be altogether in the spirit of mauss..

kevin on 100 flowers.. yeah.. that.. and more/all.. ie: everyone in sync.. which today.. we can facil.. 

imagine if we

taking number of daily visions to limit of infinity


ch 7 – the false coin of our own dreams, or the problem of the fetish, 3b

p. 230 – i began book by saying social theory is at something at an impasse, in part, because it has boxed itself into a corner where it is not largely unable to imagine people being able to change society purposefully.. i have argued that one way to overcome this problem is to look at social systems as structures of creative action, and value, as how people measure the importance of the own actions w/in such structures.. if so, then one is necessarily seeing ‘society’ as to some degree an intentional thing.. 

the problem is that in western social thought, social contract theory is one of the only idioms in which it has been possible to talk about society this way (an intentional thing), and it is a woefully inadequate one. to imagine society as a contract is to imagine it in distinctly market terms….. given tremendous power of econ ideologies in world today.. relentlessly hammered in on everyone .. words like ‘contract’ have become pretty obviously unsalvageable..  those who think differently simply don’t have the power or influence to create new definitions in peoples’ minds, t.. or at any rate, any significant number of them.. mauss tried to change the way we think about contracts in ‘the gift’ .. his efforts had no effect whatever.. 

all this is very frustrating because …leaves us without a language.. t with which to *discuss some very important phenomena.

so.. does our language become more image ish – emoticon ish – action ish – from doing/being….? maybe we can do this now… because tech is allowing us to break down the convo to a 24/7 flow/vote – local and global.. an maybe to realize legit diff *discussion ness – maybe discussing isn’t the point.. of life.. maybe language.. as enclosure and intellect/academia ness.. is the thread.. a red flag thread.. we keep holding on to.. even when we satay/think we’re not.. 

ie: imagine idiosyncratic jargon as language as it could be.. et al.. as a means to undo our hierarchical listening/language

since marx, we have been used to talking about how social orders become naturalized; about..

how what are ultimately arbitrary conventions come to seem like inevitable constituents of the universe..t

science of people ness – let’s stop doing that

dawn of everything stuck ness


p. 231 – iroquois – society was seen not as something given but as a human creation, a set of agreements, which were the only alternative to endless cycles of destructive violence.. the way of creating society.. was through establishing long-term open-ended commitments…

trade w the newcomers came to be regulated by ritual objects that the europeans referred to as ‘fetishes’ on which they were asked to swear oaths and that were held to bind together otherwise unrelated people in contractual obligations.. 

the power ascribed to such objects (fetishes) were in this case quite similar to the sort of sovereign power imagined by hobbes: not only were they tokens of agreement, but they were themselves capable of enforcing those agreements because they were essentially forms of crystallized violence. …t



(on wampum/fetishes) … here it was as if the power and abstraction of money itself were turned back against itself as a form of imaginary violence that could prevent its own worst implications.

looking at mechs for creating collective agreements, then, is a fairly dependable way to find social forms that are not completely naturalized.. the real striking thing.. is how often people can see certain institutions – or even society as a whole – both as a human product and also as a given in the nature of the cosmos.. both as something they have themselves created and something they could not possibly have created.. if one read merina rituals of state w all this in mind.. i think it will make it easier to understand both just how little mystified by their own political institutions people in ‘traditional’ societies can often be; how much they can, in fact, see those institutions as human creations, in what we might consider strikingly realistic terms; but at the same time, why it might sometimes not make a whole lot of difference that they do


233: (bloch) starts the piece by talking about dumont’s famous observations on the indian caste system.. particularly dumont’s insistence that one must make a strict distinction between caste, which dumont says is basically a religious institution, and the original org of kingdoms.. w all the often tawdry and brutal realities of political power they entailed.


hasina then was  sort of inherent grace, given by the very nature of the cosmos..  one could hardly imagine a more extreme contrast between this ideological rep of timeless hierarchy and the sordid details of actual politics, full of constant murder, extortion, and kidnapping.. but bloch notes hasina could be used another way: coins given at tribute to king.. bloch suggests an analogy w english term ‘honor’ … certain people said to ‘have’ honor.. to be intrinsically noble.. but the word can also be a verb: you can honor people by treating them as if they were that sort of person.. in theory, by honoring them you are simply recognizing something they already have; in reality of course, they have it only because people treat them that way.. so.. having hasina1: intrinsic superiority.. is like having/inheriting honor; giving coins hasina2: is like honoring people

honor/caste.. as religious/inherited

p. 234 – for bloch, the critical thing is the way all such rituals serve to mystify the real source of royal power, which is precisely the monarch’s ability to make other people pay tribute and otherwise treat him like a monarch .. t.. by claiming that power comes from a domain beyond human action.

after living in madagascar (and contemp merina ritual language) i’m not sure i ever heard hasina used to convey a notion of intrinsic hierarchical superiority.. i heard the verb used all the time.. 

235: belief that beyond human ness made it un definable.. and so.. powerful enough to unite

p. 236 – we are back again to social contracts. the message seems to be: kingship emerges from popular consensus. this consensus has to be constantly reaffirmed; …

public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

p.237 – always seems to be some sort of notion of agreement and always too a sense that this agreement was established primarily through the power of words – two facts brought together by the fact that persuasive words themselves could themselves be referred to as masina.

word of persuasion – reeking of the obligation ness via invisible/imaginary silence.. and then too legit voice ness

language as control/enclosure

..usually, at least implicitly, creating such an agreement also involves creating some invisible force of violence that has the power to enforce it (much as ancestors punish their descendants who do not respect their *mutual obligations).

structural violence and feedback loop is broken e al

*aka: public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

if one examines nineteenth century archival records, it quickly becomes clear that this was by far the most common way in which the monarch’s power really entered into people’s everyday affairs: in effect, by gestures meant to constantly re-create the king’s power to enforce agreement, in both senses of the term.. t

whoa. .. circling us back to daily reminders of debt ness.. the structural violence of debt (book)

and again to the violence in consensus ness


diff between bloch’s analysis and my own..bloch specifically interested in way such rituals produce certain image of timeless, immutable authority; in fact he defines kinship itself as a’a way of viewing relationships between people in terms of the links established by sex and parenthood so that the social ties which are rep’d in this way appear as natural, inevitable and unchangeable to those who operate them’.. .. i was looking at ‘magical practice’.. which is about humans creating hasina.. seems in some ways explicitly opposed to kinship.. 

again on eminent stuck ness..

239: much of marx’s early work.. was concerned w anal of religion.. one might even say his work on ideology was largely a matter of applying concepts developed for the critique of religion to the econ sphere.. logic behind marx’s critique of religion was fundamental to his way of thinking about the human condition in general.. ie: human being are creators.. social/natural world is something we have made and are continually remaking.. our problem is that we never seem to see it fully that way and therefore can never take control over the process; everywhere, instead, people see their own creations as controlling them. religion thus becomes the prototype for all forms of alienation, since it involves projecting our creative capacities outward onto creature of pure imagination and then falling down before them asking them for favors.. and so on..  

karl marx

p. 240 – magic, then, is about realizing one’s intentions (whatever those may be) by acting on the world.. it’s about humans actively shaping the world.. conscious of what they are doing as they do so.. the usual marxist critique would not apply. on the other hand, magicians also tend to make all sorts of claims that seem pretty obviously untrue and at least in some contexts do act to reinforce exploitative systems of one sort/another.. so it’s not as if marxists could endorse this either.. hence perhaps the tendency to avoid the subject altogether.. 

p. 243 – the point is always that while curers( for instance) can hardly help but know that much of what they are doing is stage illusion, they also think that since it does cure people, on some level it must be true.

p. 244 – curers, genuine or not, are clearly powerful and influential people. it means anyone watching a performance was aware that the person in front of them might be one whose power was based only on their ability to convince others that they had it. and that, it seems to me, opens the way for some possibly profound insights into the nature of social power..t

social control et al.. any form of m\a\p

p. 245 – nonetheless you have the same uncomfortable relation between two premises that are pretty clearly contradictory, yet in practice seem to depend on one another.. after all.. what would malagasy society be like if everyone really did act as if medicine only worked if you believed in it, or if you wanted it to? harmful magic – which is most magic – would simply cease to exist.. 

perhaps one could say something similar about the nature of political power, or at the very least, of obviously coercive forms like the org of a state..

to a large extent, power is just the ability to convince other people that you have it (to the extent that it’s not, it largely consists of the ability to convince them you should have it).

.. could there really be a society in which people acted as if they were perfectly well aware that this was the case? would this not mean that power itself – at least in its nastier, most obviously harmful manifestations – would cease to exist.. in same way harmful magic would?

on defining magic around two features..1\ that it is not inherently fetishistic, in that it recognizes that the power to transform the world ultimately goes back to human intentions

246: boas’ turn of the century kwakiutl informants, whose word for ‘ritual’ was same as for ‘fraud’ or ‘illusions’.. seemed to have some very magical tendencies in their ways of thinking about social power

not to mention.. already not themselves.. so already non legit

p. 247 – on azande ..not able to question the very foundations of their own mode of thought

on of things i’m trying to do is shatter some of artificial distance that so man anthro theories end up often unintentionally creating between observer and observed.. i myself really doubt anyone, anywhere, is unable to question the foundations of own thought; although it’s probably also true that the overwhelming majority of people in world also don’t see any particular reason why they should.. 

one might say that statements like”kings descended from the sky, except, not really” are about as far as one can go in defetishizing power without creating some sort of discourse, some way of talking and thinking about power, that is not itself entirely entangled in the practice of power – or that at last aspires to stand apart from it.. in order to create these exterior spaces, however, one must want to do so…in practice, it implies some sort of conscious program of social change. 

on spaces of permission.. a need for systemic change..on creating exterior spaces.. where verbiage not bound in power thinking

p. 248 – seem to have changed their opinions on the subject of royal power almost instantly after the monarchy was overthrown i 1896 and now tend to describe it, or any kind of power which some people (have) the right to give arbitrary orders to others, as fundamentally immoral.

any form of m\a\p

does leave us with the rather surprising conclusion that if one is looking for unfetishized consciousness in nonwestern societies, one of the most likely places to look is precisely around objects westerners would be inclined to refer to as “fetishes.” i suspect on reason has to do with the nature of revolutionary action itself- that is, if one interprets the word”revolutionary” in the broadest possible sense.

(on marx – and diff between human and other – is in architecture – human imagines building first.) this is the ambiguity, though: while our ability to revolutionize emerges from this same critical faculty, the revolutionist, according to marx, must never proceed in the same manner as the architect, it was not the task of the revolutionary to come up with blueprints for a future society, and then try to bring them in to being, or indeed to try to imagine details of the future society at all. that would be utopianism, and marx has nothing for revolutionary theorists who proceeded along these lines.

not task of revolutionary to come up with blueprints… that would be Utopianism..?

not if utopia – et al ie: revolution as instigating utopia every day

so a need for a nother way – that jumpstarts – us – into an ongoing emerging society.. everyday.. no blueprint.. not predictable.. not able to train/prep for it.. aka: sans all the red flags

one might say: that a revolutions trying to design a new society would be like an architect trying to design a building to be constructed in a universe where the laws of physics would be entirely diff…

why leap – for (blank)’s sake

there is another .. and it seems to me more interesting approach, which would be to forget the notion of a fundamental break and look at the question as one of scale.. after all any act of creativity is unprecedented and new to some degree.. it’s just that usually that degree is very small

sounds like siemens glue law – and scale the individual ness

gillis on small scale et al – deep enough to get at all the scales

249: all creative action is to some degree revolutionary; but to be revolutionary to any significant degree, it must change that larger structure in which it is embedded..t..  at which point one can no longer imagine one  is simply working on objects, but must recognize that one is also working on people


gillis on small scale.. aka: deep enough to get at all the scales

systemic ness.. has to be all of us.. everyone in sync.. or just spinning wheels in same song aka: tragedy of the non common

an act can be considered historical to the degree to which it could not have been predicted before it happened..t..  in every case we are talking about what seems, from the perspective of a system, to be ‘arbitrariness’ but from the perspective of the individual ‘freedom’.. insofar as any system of action sis also historical, it is in a permanent condition of transformation, or at the very least, potential transformation.. 

again.. huge

predict\able ness is a huge red flag we’re doing it/life wrong..  graeber unpredictability/surprise law

love this.. to me it’s like saying.. all current data/history is non legit

p. 250 – in most contexts, on is dealing with things that happen over and over in pretty much the same way. even if one cannot know how every actor in the marketplace actually sees things, if one understands the logic of the system one can understand enough to know why , say, a given product has the value that it does. if so, it also follows that the more historical creativity is involved in a situation, the less this is the case. in a moment of profound historical change, no one involved could possibly know what the total system in question actually consists of.

why/how this works: undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

one is caught in what a hegelian would call a moment of dialectical unfolding. knowledge is necessarily fragmentary; totalities that the actors are working w are necessarily imaginary, or prospective, or numerous and contradictory

intellect ness

taleb antifragile lawcarhart-harris entropy law; ..

when it comes to establishing value, one common response to such confusing situation is to circle off a space as a kind of minimal, defacto “society,” a kind of micrototality, as it were.

science of people ness – on need to get outside of what we think we know.. and stay there.

the presence of an audience is what makes it possible.

sea world is all about audience

p. 251 – the power of money is an effect of a gigantic system of coordination of human activity.

so let’s coord/org differently.. ie: as infra ness.. 

in situation of radical change, a revolutionary moment in which the larger system itself is being transformed,…… the larger social reality does not yet exist. all that is real, in effect, is the actor’s capacity to create it.

yeah.. let’s do that.. everyday.. ie: imagine if we ness

on objects not having power… but in another sense, it- or the faith people place in it – really does have the power to bring a new social order into being.

.. it is unreasonable to expect anything like a social science, any systematic attempt to decipher the nature of social reality – that is, to create a discourse that aims to stand outside the practices of power – actually to emerge except as part of a very particular kind of social project. one might even say, “utopian project.” historically, imagining there could be a discourse that would not partake of practices of power and inequality was closely related to imagining there could be a world that wouldn’t. .. only .. around the enlightenment,… when one has a notion that it would be possible (or, perhaps more accurately, legitimate) to imagine what a new social order might be like, and then bring it into being… (famous from 68 – -give power to the imagination)

ie: cure ios city

we can leap.. for (blank)’s sake

p. 252 – this (power of imagination et al) tends to be overlooked by those who see anthro as basically a product of imperialism.. the emergence of what we call ‘social science’.. came about in an intellectual milieu that was not only marked by imperialism on a world scale but also obsessed w the possibility of revolution, its own sudden and dramatic transformation in to something diff.. certainly it was the creation of vast european empires, incorporating an endless variety of social systems that made modern anthro possible.. but this is hardly an explanation in itself.. ie: had been plenty of multicultural empires.. and now had ever produced a project for systematic comparison of cultural diff.. actually opp.. 

the reasonable explanation would seem to be that fifth century greece was a period of political possibility: full of social experiments, revolutions, utopian schemes for the founding of ideal cities.

.. not wrong.. but so often, invoking the word “science” brings so many other issues to the table that it probably confuse more than it illuminates.

science ness

253: on curiosity and possibility.. coming and going

p. 254 – on getting to the root of the problem (radical) – i think.. another set (fixed forms, extreme individualism, and assumption that human nature is founded on infinite/unquenchable desires all in a state of fundamental competition)…(are) far more challenging ones, because they are all far more deeply embedded in ordinary common sense.

sounds like networked individualism ness

sound like doe stuck ness vs imagine if we ness

over course of this book i’ve argued that systems of categories, or knowledge, are really just one side of a system of action; that society is therefore in a sense always an active project or set of projects; that value is the way actions become meaningful to the actors by being place in some larger social whole, real or imaginary. To adopt a dialectical approach means to define things not in terms of what one imagines them to be in a certain abstract moment, outside time, but partly by what they have the potential to become. It is extremely difficult to think this way consistently. But when one is able to, any number of seemingly impossible quandaries dissolve away.

zoom dance ness – ni

not so difficult.. imagine if we

and then lots of irrelevant s quit becoming distractions

levi-strauss – 58 – pointing out quandary – that while we reject the notion that some people are barbarians and insist that the perspectives of different groups are all equally valid, it almost invariably turns out that one of the first tenets of faith in most of those groups is that this is not the case.

p. 255 – on … priding self on ability .. to adopt children, or even adults, from other societies and turn them into proper human beings..

ged ness. schooling the world ness… et al – oi

universal ideas are not ideas that everyone in the world has, that’s just false positivism; *universal ideas are ones that everyone in the world would be capable of understanding;.. t universal moral standards are not ones on which everyone in the world currently agrees – there is obviously nothing on which everyone agrees – but ones that, through a capacity for moral reasoning and experience of forms of moral practice **that we already do share, ..t..we would be able to work out together and agree to (and probably will have to on some level if we are ll to survive in the  world), and so on.

let’s org around that.. *maté basic needs – deep enough

**already in us ness

ie: org around legit needs we all already crave


science of people – on not knowing yet what we’re capable of

and problem deep enough.. to get to that being rather than knowing ness

his (marx) approach was in fact so relentlessly critical that he insisted it was impossible to find anything in the existing social order that could provide the basis for an alternative, except for the revolutionary practice of the proletariat itself, whose historical role, however, stemmed from the fact that as the one class that had absolutely no stake in the existing capitalist order it could liberate itself only by that order’s absolute negation.

systemic change.. making irrelevant.. rather than fighting..

p. 256 – on marx (intellect/capitalist/rational) vs mauss (imaginative/utopian).. and how to combine.. find mid ground

ie: maté basic needs

i hope that if i have accomplished anything over the course of this book, it’s to suggest where on might at least look for a solution: that much of the problem lies in the parmenidean logic behind the very notions of “society” or “culture,” which lead to *irresolvable paradoxes between individual motivation and social form, and that an approach that begins instead from questions of value, creativity, and an open-ended layering of real and imaginary social totalities, might do much to help resolve them.

a story about people grokking what matters. as the day.

huge.. solution.. to start from ie: itch-in-8bn-souls.. everyday.. as the day..  imagine if we

*brown belonging law et al

257: perspectives: from meaning to desire 

hope this means.. let go of defn ness and listen deeper .. for itch ness

the appeal of market based ideologies is not that difficult to understand.. they draw on a picture of human nature/motivation that lies deeply rooted in the religious tradition of the west.. and that in our market based society seems endlessly confirmed by everyday experiences.. 

everyday experiences in sea world

we are unique individuals who have unlimited desires; since there is no natural cutoff point at which anyone will have enough power/money/pleasure/possessions, and since resources are scarce, this means we will always be in at least tacit competitions.. 


actually not.. we can go all in .. ie: beyond finite set of choices/desires.. sans competition/scarcity.. et al .. all about getting back/to grokking the enough ness of an undisturbed ecosystem

market principles can then be balanced, as need be, by their opposite: family values, altruistic charity, selfless devotion to a faith or cause.. all principles that are, as it were, brought into being as complements to the pure psychology of ‘rational, self interested calculation’.. these are as mauss reminds us really just two sides of the same false coin.. 


false coin ness

the key move, one might say, the most important ideological work in all this is done by extracting all the more fundamental questions of desire from society (having thinking based on humans are simply people who’s desires are insatiable), so that it is possible to conceive of happiness largely as one’s relations with objects (or at best, people on treats like objects): …..and it is of course exactly this extraction that allows promoters of the market to claim to be acting in the name of human freedom, as simply opening the way for individuals to make up their own minds about what they want from life without anyone noticing that most of the individuals in question spend the vast majority of their waking hours running around at someone else’s beck and call. it’s a pretty neat trick if you think about it.

yeah.. that’s like voice ness

much of the power of market theory stems from its very simplicity.. it does contain w/in it a theory of human nature, a theory of desire, pleasure, freedom, and even, in  its won way a theory of society.. the fact that in all these areas the argument is so simplistic as to be full of holes is, for ideological purposes, of almost no significance, particularly if no one is proposing a more coherent alternative.

rather than managing/enclosing desires.. listen deeper to legit/maté needs/desires/itch-in-the-soul

p. 258 – in fact it often seems that all the other side has to offer.. is a collection of *scattered insights that it is impossible to make a coherent argument out of them.. on problem i ran into while writing book.. **lack of a theoretical language w which to talk about desire.. 

*yeah that

**yeah that.. so idiosyncratic jargonitch-in-the-soul; .. as theoretical/legit language/communication (at least a jump start back to the natural ways/means)

but also language as control/enclosure et al

why no alt

surely there must be some alts

legit different experiment

self enclosing system of signs

language as control/enclosure

levi strauss: ‘what fascinates us is always that which radically excludes us in the name of its internal logic or perfection.. a math formula, a paranoiac system, a concrete jungle, a useless object or again a smooth body.. w/o orifices, double and redoubled by a mirror, ..’

this is not perhaps a theory of desire so much as a theory of frustrated desire..

like unwanted stress et al.. from living in sea world

it was largely in reaction to this sort of autoerotic model that deleuze proposed we look instead to the polymorphous perversity of the infant; for him, desire becomes a kind of universal primordial force of production flowing in all directions between bodies and between bodies and the world..t

not yet scrambled ness.. graeber care/free law.. 1 yr to be 5.. 1 yr to try commons.. et al

what we call ‘reality’ is really its side effect..

really sea world 

this isn’t really a theory of desire at all – it’s more a declaration of why one isn’t necessary..t

to michel’s question (is graeber saying no theory of value?) and graeber values law and intellect ness et al

why no need

p. 259 – one of the key arguments of this book has been that what we call “structure” is not a set of static forms or principles but way in which changes – or in the case of social structure, action – is patterned; it consists, as piaget (or turner) would put it, of the invariable principles that regulate a system of transformations. as such, it is a notoriously elusive thing.

the critical thing is that whatever it is, it can on some level be said to contain everything.

fractal thinking ness .. and one ness –interconnected..ness.

gillis on small scale – getting at all the scales.. that deep

a household contains all the elementary forms of relation at play within a larger kinship system,..t even if at times in strange inverted forms. in any case, they become frozen images of those patterns of actions that in practice are called into being by the very fact that people value them; they are , as i sad, mirrors of our own manipulate intentions.

be you house ness. nclb.. values..

let’s org around this house ness: oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

but hidden behind that glimmering image of perfection is almost always the awareness of something imperceptible, a looming absence of its own… this absence tends to be perceived not as a lack but as a kind of power. but the ultimate illusion, the ultimate trick behind this whole play of mirrors, is that this power is not, in fact, power at all, but a ghostly reflection of one’s own potential for action; one’s “creative energies,” as i’ve somewhat elusively called them.

itch-in-the-soul ness

260-261: on.. creative energies.. potential.. only being seen.. coming alive..through others….

What makes creativity so confusing, to both actor and analyst, is the fact that these powers are—precisely—so fundamentally social. They are social both because they are the result of an ongoing process whereby structures of relation with others come to be internalized into the very fabric of our being, and even more, because this potential cannot realize itself—at least, not in any particularly significant way—except in coordination with others.

on pain.. loss of everything but the hurting self (own hand) .. pleasure.. loss of self (feeling another’s skin).. and that as ongoing process of communication/creativeness.. 

one might .. say… that in all the most sophisticated formulations, pleasure ends up involving not just the effacement of self, but the degree to which that effacement partakes of a direct experience of that most elusive aspect of reality, of pure creative potential….(which also can)..if one is entirely unaware of the larger social context in which it takes place, also produce unparalleled misery.

(an aside.. thinking about invisibility of a person as long as they are doing what we want.. what society ness expects via culture norms ie: roles, institutions of marriage et al. turned to peak panopticonal foci once said person bucks/alters said system/norms/enclosures/violence.. perhaps as means to heighten structural violence/control)

from notes at end:

ch 1
263 – #9 – disinterested means,,,?
263 #10 – consumption… as reproducing inequality
264: #18 – hierarchy inclusive when from center and not edges.. theoretical not practical though
not yet anyway.. ie: if center as itch-in-8bn-souls.. everyday.. to undo our hierarchical listening as edges
ch 2
264: #4 – use/exchange value as terms for use inside but not outside capitalist system
#12 – what’s his 1997 alt – goes back to p 33: appadurai leaves one w an image of commerce (self interested, acquisitive calc) as a universal human  urge.. almost a libidinal, democratic force, always trying to subvert the powers of the state, aristocratic hierarchies, or cultural elites whose role always seems to be to try to inhibit, channel, or control it.. then in refs p 294: 1997: ‘manners, deference and private property: the generalization of avoidance in early modern europe..’
so still don’t know his alt
265: #7 – on bourdieu and that every field reducible to econ.. but that those studying econ done best job in isolating phenom that go on in every field.. but are elsewhere disguised
265: #8 – if one might as easily be max ing wealth or smiles.. what’s point of describing it as max ing at all
265: 10 – on prosperous academics individually consumptioning .. bourdieu critiquing consumption as reproducing ineq
265: 12 – in interest of those in power to freeze flow of commodities..
#19 – when reading strathern, it helps to develop one’s own glossary .. of stratherenian terms and the words a more conventional scholar would probably use in their place.. mine includes: 
to elicit: to perceive
value: meaning (or importance)
compared to: distinguished from
enchainments: obligations
to coerce: to persuade, or make someone feel obliged to do something
not very idio?
#21 – exchange (can create new relations) vs work (can only reinforce ones that already exist)
266#25 – coercion/persuasion.. tantamount (same as) to violence
ch 3
267: 1 – impossible to give things names (plato)
267: 4 – all dialectical tradition assumes objects are always more complex than any description we could make of them
268: 5 – doesn’t imply events can’t be explained ex post facto.. bhaskar objects to positivist assumption that explanation and prediction are ultimately same thing
but they are both non legit – ie: from whales
roy bhaskar.. graeber unpredictability/surprise law et al
268: 8 – ‘creative energies’ intrinsically unquantifiable.. can’t even say a society has a fixed sum of these.. which it then must apportion – in familiar econ sense of ‘economizing’ scarce resources.. since amt of creative potential floating around is never fully realized.. would be hard even to imagine a society in which everyone was always producing to limit of their mental/physical capacities; certainly none of us would volunteer to live there
or would we? ie: cure ios city.. w have no idea.. because we’ve never let go enough to see.. imagine if we – got to that unimaginable source/ongoing energy
268: 9 – from capital p 177: ‘by acting on external world and changing it, he at same time changes his own nature’
268: 10 – turner like marx.. concentrating on sorts of action in which one is *most self conscious.. so as to **examine their limits
*which today is always near nothing  **this process – even thinking one should do this process.. is limiting/deadening
268: 12 – false insofar as those who have this partial consciousness do not recognize its partiality.. t
part\ial ness is killing us all.. for (blank)’s sake
taleb center of problem law
false coin ness
268: 13 – on language based on arbitrary code that can stand apart from practice.. in almost every other domain of human activity.. would be impossible to even talk about a ‘code’ except in terms of practice – piaget
269: 15 – piaget always own language
shouldn’t we all.. ie: idiosyncratic jargon .. isn’t that our privacy.. property ness..
no robbers.. just like minded.. or curious enough unlike minded
269: 16 – on ed.. can’t describe point of learning..
grokking.. tacit ness of living.. and so if able to describe.. not learning/living.. just explaining whales post facto
269: 18 – on children seeing life as gift.. but adult.. have to relearn …via market…?
via market?.. 
graeber parent/care law.. maté parenting law.. not yet scrambledness.. 1 yr to be 5 ness
269: 19 – on means – abstract labor’ or worker’s capacity to labor.. invisible after..
so.. only time can describe.. is when means are invisible.. so can’t describe..


let go
269: 22 – on minimum unit of structure
as infra ness
269: 23 – on beauty and completeness.. and inequity.. pov…
shalom – absence of shalom in all it’s forms
270: 24 – word chief means… those allowed to chant
voice ness.. and needing a means to undo our hierarchical listening
270: 29 – gift economy.. value/ commodity disappears.. rather than people disappearing (commodity econ).. brilliant.. but where does initial code come from
code already in each one of us ness
271: 35 – almost by defn, since states are normally defined by the systematic use of force.. t
structural violence
ch 4
271: 1&2 – on mirrors and rules on staring or not staring at figures of authority
271: 4 – the exercise of power will always require an ability both to act on others and to define oneself.. 
272: 1 – mohawk from algonkian word meaning cannibal.. iroquois derived from one for killer
6 – or dominance behind beauty and so on
272: 7 – affinity between mirror images and adornment to the person.. both extension of one’s self into some thing outside body in a form that can only be realized by being seen (on beads and mirrors.. comaroff)
272: 12 – on the indexical sort that comes with language
ch 5
273: 7 – on sticks and gifts 
reread Amanda‘s page and add to www deck (can’t find it – the stick story)
added to j silva page as convo (?)
ch 6
274: 2 – on emmerson’s essay ‘gifts’…. contains description of degree to which someone receiving a gift often feels to have undergone a kind of assault, which can be put right only by returning something of equal value.. (value.. to be seen rather than looked at)
amanda and gifts she is essence of ni ness, ie: twitter… was the work – again to www
274: 6 – praxis…live doings
276: 24 – like so many h g ‘s the kwakwaka’wakw alternated between scattered settlements in summer and large concentrated settlements in winter.. which was also the ceremonial season
dawn of everything and graeber/wengrow back & forth law et al
277: 46 – sahlins concludes that most hierarchical relations fall under rubric of ‘generalized reciprocity’ though to my mind this is yet another ie of the dangerous ambiguities of the term ‘reciprocity’ itself: i would say that in any meaningful sense, most such relations are not recip at all
278: 48 – can’t measure/compare ie intelligence – when ie: intelligence made up of 100s of diff sorts of incommensurable scales.. but this assumes those dimensions themselves could, at least hypothetically, be measured, which strikes me as in itself somewhat positivistic
intellect ness
ch 7
278: 7 – even when power is purely violent and repressive, it is still a matter of convincing those who have weapons or are otherwise part of the apparatus of repression – (so on persuasion even of these doing/acting-out the violence/repression)
279: 14 – board on which checkers can move around.. even more.. principles that tell us which marks on board are important and why.. (control)
279: 15 – on desire not fundamental constituent of reality.. but rather a metaphor for potential.. which is (as driver)

ref cited:

283: roy bhaskar – the possibility of naturalism (79); scientific realism and human emancipation(86); philosophy and the idea of freedom (91)
288: deleuze and guattari – anti-oedipus: capitalism and schizophrenia (83)
289: mary douglas.. foreward: no free gifts in the gift: the form and reason for exchange in archaic societies
13 pages –
p 11: According to Marcel Mauss that is what is wrong with the free gift. A gift that does nothing to enhance solidarity is a contradiction.. By ignoring the universal custom of compulsory gifts we make our own record incomprehensible to ourselves: right across the globe and as far back as we can go in the history of human civilization, the major transfer of goods has been by cycles of obligatory returns of gifts.
p 14: Following Durkheim, Mauss also considered that every serious philosophical work should bear on public policy. The theory of the gift is a theory of human solidarity. 
p 22: This time round the sparks from Mauss’s grand idea might well light a fuse to threaten methodological individualism and the idea of a free gift.
durkheim was uncle to mauss
292: foucault – the archaeology of knowledge (72); discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (77)
294: graeber – dancing w corpses reconsidered (95); beads and money theory of wealth/power (96); love magic and political morality (96); manners, deference and private property (97); catastrophe- magic and history in rural madagascar (2001)
302: mauss – the gift.. form/reason for exchange (90)
305: pietz (95) .. the spirit of civilization: blood sacrifice and monetary debt’.. ‘.. the money value of human life’.. polanyi – econ as an instituted process (57); primitive, archaic and modern ecoy (68)
307: sahlins – 8 refs.. scarry – te body in pain: the making/unmaking of the world (85)
311: testart – uncertainties of the ‘obligation to recip’ – a critique of mauss (98)
314: paul vogt – obligation and right.. wagner – then invention of culture.. lethal speech.. 
321: decentering – freedom/maturity as..  desires – of the soul.. social/individual structure.. mauss to durkehiem.. 152.. economy – absence of, 10
322: egali tarianism 271
324: he only cited himself 4 times
328: meaning (entire book).. media of value – storage; microcosms; performance as
330: obligation – *see freedom.. parmenides (60) – problem of models derived from to 255 book wrap up
*huge – let go
332: rational calculation.. see also self interest.. 
334: society vs culture.. stateless societies.. strathern rejection of concept of society.. synchorny
335: totalities.. turner on totality.. value ch 1-7 passim (aka: entire book)
336: (still value) systems/theories of .. values


value at lse


theory of value

david on human economies

re imagine value report

value in commons econ

generative value

david on value